DMV gets more funding to shorten long lines while lawmakers shut down audit

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- State lawmakers approved funding to hire an additional 230 employees for California DMVs. The decision comes on the same day they shut down a proposal to audit long wait times at offices throughout the state. 

DMV officials say they've seen a surge in demand at offices from people getting the new REAL ID License, which you can't do by mail or online. 

State Assemblymember Phil Ting is spearheading an effort to shorten the wait. He says wait times at some offices were up to seven hours. 

"We've identified some technological fixes so that people can enter the information," said Ting. "There would be less clerical work."

In July, lawmakers added an extra $16 million to the DMV budget. The extra funding would allow them to hire 500 more employees, offer Saturday services and upgrades to some self-service kiosks. 

Assemblymember Ting got onboard when he had to go to the DMV in San Francisco and saw the line wrapped around the block. 

"It looked like people were waiting in line for a rock concert," said Ting. "Not for their driver's license."

He says another problem was that people were waiting too long to renew.  

"People couldn't get appointments before their licenses were expiring," said Ting. "We're asking to send those notices out much further in advance."

DMV officials are also rolling out new programs like text message notifications and expanding self-service terminals to 50 grocery stores later this year. Drivers who want to get a REAL ID would still have to go into an office. 

DMV officials say you can expect to see reduced wait times by the middle of September, but they don't expect what they call "reasonable" wait times until December. They said that means 15 minutes for an appointment and 45 minutes for walk-ins. 

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