Back in June, Governor Lincoln Chafee appointed Lisa Holley to the task of decreasing the wait at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Now, four months later, the evidence of Holley’s progress is being reported by people in line at the Cranston branch of the DMV.
“Compared to the old one it’s already a lot faster,” said Ted Burton of West Warwick, as he waited on Monday morning. “I’m getting ready to be called now.”
Most of the people waiting at the DMV said they had been there for about a half-hour, and their number was coming up soon.
“We were here in June,” said Courtney Pratt of Warwick, seated with John Nunez of Cranston. “And we sat all day. We’ve been here for a half-hour.”
The pair said their number was getting close to being called.
One woman said she called in sick to work to go to the registry, expecting that she would be there all day.
“It doesn’t look like I’m in too bad of trouble,” said another woman waiting to renew her license. “There’s still a wait, but the building’s nicer. It’s better than it was.”
Debbie Rich, a member of the Governor’s Resource team at the Cranston DMV, said that wait times have been decreased by the implementation of several measures.
There’s now a check-in booth, where people go to grab a number and disclose what they’re at the DMV for. This new booth replaced the old ticketing system, where people would take a number from one of two machines. Sometimes, they would pull a number from a wrong machine, and wait in the wrong line. Rich said the check-in booth has remedied this problem.
“Since implementing the new check-in booth, average wait times have been reduced from five hours to under two hours for most transactions,” she said.
However, these numbers do not account for people who get in line early outside of the DMV before the doors open.
But Rich said that wait times inside can and do vary depending on the day and time.
“Wait times fluctuate on days known to be peak times at DMV such as the day before or after a holiday,” she said. “And at the beginning and end of each month.”
Tom Celona, retired owner of Thrifty used car sales, said that he has seen a marked decrease in wait time at the dealer section of the DMV.
“I’m here twice a month,” he said. “The lines are much shorter. The time is reduced. The feel is much better. Lisa Holley and her crew have done a great job.”
Celona said there is also a greeter who looks over your paperwork to ensure you have all of the necessary items. This step ensures that people do not wait for a long time, only to find they have to come back another day with the proper documents.
James Allen, who just moved to Pascoag from North Carolina, sat filling out forms yesterday morning as he waited for his number to be called.
“I’ve been here for 20 minutes and my number is 27 away,” he said. “It seems to be going quickly. In North Carolina the DMV is excruciatingly painful.”
“So far, so good,” he said.
Rich said that transaction times are monitored regularly through the use of a Q-Matic ticketing system.
“In the past four months since I have been here as a member of the Governor’s Resource team at DMV Cranston, customer transactions have been completed no later than 5:30 p.m.,” she said. “If transactions cannot be completed, customers are given a blue return ticket that allows them to avoid waiting when they come back to complete their DMV business.”
Rich said that next Monday they will bring in 14 new hires to assist with decreasing wait times. They will look into re-working the check-in process to ensure that people always have the right paperwork before waiting.
Rich said that the new measures implemented have come at no extra cost.
“There has been no additional cost because we have utilized existing customer service representatives to staff the check-in booth,” said Rich.
For some at the DMV, though, nothing seems to have changed very much.
“I’ve been here for about 20 minutes and there’s 18 more before me,” said Thomas Garafolo of Cranston as he waited to renew his license. “It’s moving, but I’d say it’s about the same.”