MOT trials and tribulations

Which means the Barcelona MOT place was applying Spanish rather than regional law in our case.

I recently took our car for its MOT (the British acronym for the ITV) in Barcelona for the first time since returning to the metropolis from Girona. I booked the nearest place to our flat, which is on Diputació, between Villarroel and Compte d'Urgell. You may be familiar with it. And if you are, you'll know that it is devised to destroy any faith you had in humankind.

First of all, there is the queuing “system”. Despite having an appointed day and time booked online or by phone, due to there being a single entrance and a complete lack of space drivers are forced to try and queue along Diputació behind what initially appears to be a line of parked cars. The first time you arrive you therefore drive past the back of the queue and find yourself trying to force your way in at the front. Having enquired as to what the hell is going on, most people of course bite the bullet and make their way all the way back around four blocks to locate the back of the queue edging out dangerously into Villarroel, where they get honked at furiously by passing drivers until they find the relative refuge of the middle of the queue. However, some chancers, and there are quite a few of these, choose to stay at the front of the queue and beg, threaten or charm their way in. Obviously, this frays the nerves of those waiting torturously behind, especially because some drivers occasionally let one of these people in, either out of goodness of heart, fear or by not starting their engine quickly enough and being queue jumped. Both times I went - because if your car fails its MOT for even the most minor of reasons you will have to queue up all over again rather than just have it checked outside - I found myself compelled to get out of my car and go and remonstrate with a driver trying to sneak in at the front. The second time I even went all the way into the place and told the MOT employees not to deal with the man who had nosed past an unsuspecting young woman caught unawares by the man's untold sneakiness. To no avail of course, they just ignored me.

Anyway, none of that is actually the point I was trying to make, which is that we were made to go to the considerable expense and effort of having the tyres on our car changed because they didn't match, something the Girona MOT place had missed twice as we hadn't changed any tyres for several years. It turns out, however, that Girona hadn't missed it at all, as apparently the nationwide rule that tyres must be the same on each axle does not apply in Catalonia, if you read the small print of the law. Which means the Barcelona MOT place was applying Spanish rather than regional law in our case. Having discovered this only leads me to wonder how many other time and money-wasting endeavours I have engaged in over the years that I might have been spared if only I'd known about differences in regional and national laws.

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