Californians willing to travel for shorter DMV waits

(KGTV) - Wait times at Southern California Department of Motor Vehicles offices have some drivers traveling hundreds of miles to avoid long lines.

The DMV in the high desert town of Needles has some of the shortest lines in the state, KABC reported. When a news crew arrived at 10:30 a.m. Monday, there were only two people waiting in line.

"It's really nice. Not like back at home in L.A. County," one customer said to KABC.

RELATED: New system and REAL ID to blame for long DMV lines

Although the DMV's long lines are infamous, the situation worsened when the DMV started processing information for California’s REAL ID. The modified license will be required for travel in some states and access to secure federal facilities after October 1, 2020.

A spokesperson for the DMV said the agency is monitoring wait times at all 172 field offices across the state.

"Generally speaking, the busiest offices tend to be the ones located in major metropolitan areas," spokesperson Jaime Garza said to KABC. "Offices in the rural areas tend to be less crowded."

RELATED: California DMV now taking applications for REAL ID

To improve the wait times in San Diego, the DMV recently extended hours at several local offices and added Saturday hours. There are also self-service kiosks to speed up the process.

A recent check of wait times at the Hillcrest DMV showed customers with appointments waiting 15 minutes for services. Those without appointments had a wait of two hours and 20 minutes. 

San Ysidro, Poway, San Marcos and Chula Vista had the longest wait times. El Cajon and Clairemont had the shortest waits for those without appointments.

Wondering whether you should travel to Needles? All local DMVs had shorter wait times than the roughly five hour trip to the San Bernardino County city.

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