Two motorists received the new C6 driving license after passing the first tests for driving recreational vehicles (RVs) with trailers in Shanghai.
China saw steady interest in the new type of driving license, introduced last April, which allows its holders to drive certain types of RVs or light towing trailers weighing up to 4,500 kilograms in total mass, according to a report.
The C6 driving license is not an independent driving license because applicants must already possess valid driving licenses. However, all small passenger car drivers in China with C1 or C2 licenses can apply for it if they fulfill certain preconditions.
License applicants must take a written exam on traffic rules and a practical driving test on their skills in backing, zig-zag driving, and making right-angle turns.
Dazhong Driving School in suburban Qingpu District became the first driving school in Shanghai approved by authorities to offer training services for the C6 license last month.
Sun Zhuquan, a 59-year-old seasoned motorist, took his tests for the license on Tuesday. However, the test was not made easy, claiming that backing was the most challenging part.
“I often struggle to control the direction of the trailer from the head car, even after 20 hours of training on this skill,” Sun said, adding that zig-zag driving and making right-angle turns are much easier for him.
Sun, who is a zealous traveler, said he was looking forward to driving an RV around with his family since he’s retiring soon. However, buying an RV at the moment is not an option for him due to parking problems.
“If the pandemic situation allows, I hope to make an RV trip through Yunnan next year,” he said, referring to the scenic southwest Chinese province.
Fang Yongxiang, 52, an experienced RV traveler, also took the tests at the driving school on Tuesday.
“The RV offers great convenience for travelers who enjoy quality bonding experiences in traveling with friends and families and great mobility since people can drive the head car around during daytime and sleepover in the trailer car at night,” he said.
Before the introduction of the C6 license, trailer-type RV drivers, who mainly possessed only C1 or C2 licenses, had to face varying licensing requirements in different localities. The new license has cleared up such ambiguities.
Zhang Jinsong, vice general manager of Dazhong Driving School, said that about 100 people have inquired about the training program for the new license, with over 70 already embarking on the program.
“Most of the people who have enrolled in the training program for the new license are over 50 years old, and a few are over 60, who expect to travel extensively in their retired life,” he said.
“But the possibility of an alternative lifestyle is also attracting the younger generation to drive RVs around, such as a young couple undergoing training here, who told us that they want to make the RV their home and have a travel-work life.”
Training programs for the C6 license at the school are more expensive than those for standard C1 or C2 licenses. The charge for weekday training sessions is 6,800 yuan (US$1,008) for 30 classes and 9,800 yuan for weekend sessions, not including fees for simulated tests.
Carmakers have great expectations for the RV market in China as sales of such vehicles have risen sharply in recent years.
There were about 3,500 RV camping sites in China as of 2020, and the number of purchased RVs in the country had surpassed 100,000 by the end of 2019.
This article originally appeared on Shine.