DMV lines growing

By Ashley Loza
Kern Valley Sun

Current DMV wait times have got California residents and lawmakers alike questioning the department’s management.

This should come as no surprise to Kern River Valley residents who may have noticed that the local DMV office has adopted the department’s new queueing system.

The department’s website also blames the slowdown on the electronic driver license and ID card application, as well as the implementation of the Federal REAL ID requirement.

In addition to the state’s 43 field offices open on Saturdays, the DMV has opened 17 more field offices for Saturday services. They also began opening an additional 14 offices one hour earlier for 4 days a week. This includes the Bakersfield Southwest office.

At a budget hearing on the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 7, 23rd district State Assemblyman Jim Patterson questioned DMV director Jean Shiomoto about the purpose of DMV executives if not to occasionally perform internal audits.

“An audit would require us to redirect the resources we currently have dedicated to reducing the wait times,” said Shiomoto. “Any audit, you have to pull a lot of documents. Different people working on different projects would be redirected to responding to an audit.”

“It would strain our resources,” she continued.

Shiomoto requested an additional $26 million for the department to hire about 400 more employees. She said she expects wait times to drop in September and level out from there.
The DMV’s website suggests making an appointment, but Assembly Republicans questioned what good that will do those whose local offices do not have appointments available for up to 3 months out.

One concern they listed was “having to return to the DMV and wait in line for another 8 hours because the DMV provided inaccurate information about the documents drivers needed.”

They’re also skeptical about the wait times listed on the DMV’s website, which they call “misleading information.”

California Senator Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Nigel, proposed an extension to renew any licenses set to expire this year, as well as registration of out-of-state vehicles.

Even at the Lake Isabella DMV office, REAL ID appointments may not be available for at least a month, although other services are only a week to 2 weeks out.

A REAL ID is not a requirement, but it will be the only ID card accepted for national flights starting October 2020. (Passports will also be accepted.)