State DMV Claims To Have Cut Wait Times In Half

Melissa Culross
December 02, 2019 - 3:47 pm
California DMV cuts wait times in half

Melissa Culross/KCBS Radio

Some people might call this a holiday miracle: wait times at the DMV are falling.

“Recently we’ve had the shortest wait times available in months,” said California Department of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Anita Gore. “Wait times have been cut in half from a year ago.”

At the San Francisco DMV office Monday, Grace Cheung was surprised she was able to get her REAL ID in 45 minutes.

“I’ve just heard horror stories about the lines, especially waiting for REAL ID. So even with the appointment, I got here 10 minutes early and I thought that I would be here still after an hour.”

She said her appointment could have been even shorter. “It was my own fault because I didn’t do the application online so I had to go inside and do it. And then I missed my number so they had to give me a new one.”

Meanwhile, Charlyne Basada was able to renew her driver license without an appointment in an hour and a half, when she had been expecting to wait at least three hours.

“The only real line was the picture part of it because one of them broke,” said Basada. “But beyond that we didn’t really wait that long. The numbers were going by fast.”

It is a welcome change from two years ago when the California DMV first began issuing REAL IDs, prompting a flurry of business with wait times creeping past two hours at many field office.

“We have better trained staff and given them better tools to do their job,” says Gore. “We’ve cut processing times for READ ID by more than half. We’ve eliminated redundancies and we’re better using technology.”

In fact, operations at the DMV have sped up so much that Gore says people can come in without an appointment. “We encourage people to be prepared, check online for wait times at an office near you, and just come on in.”

Many field offices are also open weekends or at 7 a.m., and Gore says those are generally good times to go.