LODI, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has announced new initiatives to improve conditions at state Motor Vehicle Commission agencies, after drivers expressed frustration over consistently long lines and regular computer system failures that are cumbersome.

CBS2 has been documenting the long lines at motor vehicle offices across New Jersey for several months — finding the problems are constant and random, not just at the end of the month when licenses and registrations expire.

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“I had to come back twice, come back, take off work. It’s hard enough to keep working, I have to spend my time here. I’m sure the employees do the best they can, but they are overwhelmed,” Pat Cassio, of Rahway, told CBS2.

Proposed initiatives are aimed at strengthening the MVC’s digital services — including its website and digital driver’s license services — as well as eliminating online transaction fees by October 1. 

Christie has also proposed streamlining voter registration and organ donation signups into one process, and changing the expiration date on all driver’s licenses to the owner’s birthday in order to spread out the flow of MVC traffic throughout the month, CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported.

“We’re calling on the legislature to enact legislation that would change the expiration date of license to the date of birth,” he said.

The governor said renovations will continue at local MVC locations, with the addition of new centers in Wayne, Oakland and Washington in upcoming months.

MVC employees will be required to take a training course in customer service, and customer complaints will be monitored for each MVC facility.

Some drivers still aren’t sure if the changes will put the brakes on lines that wrap around buildings.

“No, cause now you’re going to be waiting until your birthday, and hey happy birthday, you have to go to the DMV on your birthday,” one driver said.

CBS2 has been pressing the governor for answers. He said the state is working with AAA, so drivers can renew their registrations at their premises.

One woman who owns a driving school said more needs to be done.

“What’s happening now, is they’re so short staffed people so overworked and short staffed what’s creating the lines. The computers are secondary,” Nancy Lustenberger, F&L Driving School said.

She said students who fail tests have to wait two months before taking them again.

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The majority of complaints started coming in after budget cuts in 2015. A plan for a new computer system was cancelled, some DMV locations were closed and employees hours were cut.

“I came here Saturday and the line wrapped around the building twice,” Matthew Turlik, of Elizabeth, told CBS2.

The agency has blamed waits on its 30-year-old computer system, and motorists who wait until the end of the month.

“I would like to urge the public – and I know this may be a vain attempt — to not wait until the last three days of the month to do what you need to do,” Christie said in an earlier interview.

The governor says that more staff has been added to some offices and that he’s appointed a new Information Technology Officer, who’s figured out what caused the system to repeatedly crash.

“The legislature and executive branch are going to to have to step up to the plate and invest more in our computer technology,” Christie said.

Christie also announced the launch of two mobile agencies to address computer crashes and power outages.

“In 2017, MVC’s going to launch two mobile agencies to become numbers 40 and 42 agencies in the state,” he said.

The governor would not take reporter questions on Wednesday, but said to save them for a shore press conference on Friday.

“I would take questions, but it’s too damn hot out here,” he said, “I’ll answer questions at that press availability down at the ocean.”

The governor also wants to drop transaction fees online by October 1.

The MVC told drivers to renew licenses early, register vehicles online, and take advantage of the ‘skip the trip’ program that allows for license renewal by mail. There was no indication as to when the computer system will be fully upgraded.

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