Gov. Phil Murphy: 'There Are Long Lines Outside ... Because They're Doing An Extraordinarily Good Job Inside'

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There was more frustration Friday at the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission as people waited in lines that wrapped around the buildings at locations in several towns.

A power outage at the Motor Vehicle Commission in Freehold on Friday morning sent already frustrated New Jersey drivers scrambling.

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More than six weeks after the agency reopened, lines at other offices still wrapped around buildings and extended down the block.

“Part of the reason why we should say that there are long lines outside is because they’re doing an extraordinarily good job inside,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.

That was the governor’s explanation for why some MVC locations continue to be a hot mess outside.

“No, that doesn’t really make any sense,” Springfield resident Aman Hamlett said.

COVID-19 concerns closed the MVC during the height of the pandemic. Then in July, the race to get in for licenses, registrations and other business forced people to camp out all night.

“So when they said bring breakfast, lunch and dinner, there was some truth to that,” Newark resident Rhonda Wise said.

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But now it’s the end of August and problems in a lot of places still persist. CBS2’s Jessica Layton took the issue for the governor in a one-on-one interview earlier this week.

“How is this acceptable? What are you doing to change that?” Layton asked.

“The MVC shut for four months. It had an overwhelming backlog. They’ve chopped through a fair amount of it,” Murphy said. “It’s gotten better. If folks are frustrated, though, I don’t blame them. I’m frustrated, too. We’ve made progress.”

People in line at the Springfield office Friday afternoon gave employees some credit.

“What I recognize is that they were dealing with the same messed up dynamics that we were,” Wise said.

Now, instead of making people wait in line all day, the Springfield office hands out numbers to people who show up in the morning. The cutoff for the day is 260 people.

“I’m 253, she’s on 240, so when it’s my turn, they’re gonna text me so I can wait in my car, don’t have to be, like, in the line,” customer Juan Abreau said.

It may still not be a pleasant experience, but most customers will say anything less than painful is an improvement.

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