New Jersey says it can handle more customers at a time, but there was still a long line when it opened, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.
By 7:30 a.m., chairs and sleepy faces wrapped around the parking lot for the first day of the brand new center. It is three times the size of the original, with quadruple the amount of service windows and double the parking spaces.
But still, it was a similar sight to what we saw at the old facility last month.
“Best way to describe this was organized chaos,” Wayne resident Natalia Wojcickyj said.
“If people come they should plan to be for hours, maybe most of the day,” Montclair resident Eileen Defreece said.
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Ever since the agency closed in March, then reopened in July, hoards of back-logged customers have flooded centers statewide.
In Wayne, one person told CBS2 they arrived at 4 a.m., and when doors opened at 8 a.m. everyone got a number.
Those who don’t make it in get a ticket and leave their cell number. Wayne is the last location to implement a system notifying customers by text message when their turn is coming up.
But the line did not dissipate until two hours after the doors opened, after 12 p.m.
“Now, I see people moving in and only a quarter of line,” said Jerry Lehman of Wayne.
So Rozner asked the MVC’s chief, Sue Fulton, what kind of investments are being made in technology to make lines move faster.
“Why didn’t the state also take that money and look into restructuring the computer system?” Rozner asked.
“We have deployed upgrades to our technology virtually every two weeks since July,” Fulton said. “The entire point of sale system was upgraded last year.”
“Why can’t the MVC have an appointment system?” Rozner asked.
“We’ve done appointment systems with Real ID. People waited three months or longer,” Fulton said. “We experienced between 30 and 50% no shows.”
Fulton said when there are no shows it means clerks sit around doing nothing. She added appointments can’t be made more than 30 days out because a COVID-19 case could close an entire facility and cancel all appointments.
But for now, people renewing commercial driver’s licenses, knowledge tests and road tests can schedule ahead.
Any expansion, she said, will depend on demand.
Fulton said now at most locations customers don’t need to line up overnight. Most who arrive by 10 a.m. are seen the same day. She said the exception is Newark and Wallington.
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