WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA) — Lines at the DMV are moving more quickly — at least according to the department’s director.
Director Jean Shiomoto says recent changes have shaved time off the average wait.
KCAL9’s Laurie Perez spoke with the director in Granada Hills Saturday while she toured the local DMV office.
Liz and Levi Deras knew spending Saturday morning at the DMV wasn’t going to be fun.
“I came here like around 8:30 and it’s 9:54, so an hour and a half,” said Liz.
Many drivers said they’ve noticed longer wait times.
“I’m beyond frustrated right now,” says Alicia Moran.
Perez asked Shiomoto about the consumer complaints. She acknowledged Saturday that in many of the larger DMV locations wait times have been “longer than usual.”
How much longer? It’s been reported customers have waited up to six hours.
Shiomoto says since January, scores of people have been coming in to get a Real ID – that’s the new state-issued ID all US citizens and legal residents will need by 2020 to board domestic flights and enter some federal buildings – that or a US passport.
“It takes a little bit longer to process Real ID cause we have to see all your documents, verify that they’re accurate,” says Shiomoto.
“We didn’t realize it was going to take longer than five minutes to explain everything to the customers.”
Whether they should have anticipated it and whether that’s the only thing causing lines is a valid question and one some lawmakers wanted to find out with an audit of the DMV
Lawmakers rejected the audit proposal earlier this month — but did give the DMV $16 million to hire 230 workers and add hours at state branches.
The DMV office in Granada Hills is one of the offices that’s gone from closed to open on Saturday – the director says they’re adding weekend and early morning hours to try to move the lines along.
They’ve opened Saturdays at 60 field offices, 14 offices are now open at 7 a.m.
They’re now undergoing emergency hires and should have all 230 workers hired by the end of September.
Shiomoto says those changes have already reduced wait times by 21 minutes.
“Another thing we’re working on and really liking is we’re triaging customers outside before they’re either standing in line or get a que tickets is making sure they have the right documents, that they’re prepared,” says Shiomoto.
It worked for Jose Martinez – this was his second Saturday here – this time with everything he needed:
“I only waited in line for about 30 minutes and once you have all your papers, it’s pretty easy to maneuver through,” said Martinez.