TRENTON, NJ – We’ve all seen and many of us have experienced extremely long lines outside New Jersey’s many Motor Vehicle Commission locations since they reopened to the public, but MVC administrator Sue Collins says miles long lines outside doesn’t mean dysfunction inside.
Collins called that notion a myth on Friday.
“But that leads to myth number three, as the Governor said. Lines outside are not necessarily a sign of dysfunction inside,” Collins said. “e just can’t cram 100 or 200 or 300 people into the agencies like we used to. A normal number of people waiting at MVC in COVID times now looks like dozens of people in line outside, due to the social distancing requirements. And just because no one is standing outside in the afternoon doesn’t mean we aren’t serving customers all day. Ticketed individuals continue to be called back throughout the day for service, and dealers and driving schools tend to pick up and drop off bulk work, such as permits in new registrations, late in the day for processing.”
Collins said many of the long lines could be avoided if more people used the MVC’s website to conduct their business instead of showing up in person.
“Use nj.mvc.gov. In my visits to agencies, I continue to speak to people who are showing up for transactions that they can do online, particularly now with this new bill where your renewals can virtually all be done online, with a few exceptions. You can even get your forms online before you come in and every hour we are updating what agencies have reached capacity. We encourage people to use it,” she said.
She also mocked her own agency’s lack of customer appeal.
“We know that no one wakes up in the morning excited, today’s the day I get to go to the DMV. We know that everyone loves State Motor Vehicles and we know during this pandemic, it’s been very difficult. The lines have been awful. I’ve been out there, I’ve heard the complaints. I’ve heard the suggestions. We try to help people,” she said. “But our folks have been working tirelessly to implement new systems, process transactions faster than before and to keep everyone safe. We’re grateful for the positive comments we’ve gotten. My comms team actually sent this to me right before we came on, because it was a tweet from just this morning.”
Collins said that on her own visit to the MVC, she got on line at 6:30 in the morning and the line was about 200 deep by 8:00 a.m.
“Got my ticket at 8:30. I was called to come back at 10:30 and walked out with my gorgeous New Jersey plates at 11:00,” she said. “We know that a lot of these places are really overcrowded. There are several of our northern agencies that are just swamped and it’s very difficult. Our folks are doing the best they can but please understand, we will never stop trying harder to serve you, to get better, to have better systems and continue to innovate while protecting you from fraud, identity theft and COVID-19.”
New Jersey Assemblyman John Bramnick has not been happy with the treatment of customers at the state’s motor vehicle commission offices, even before the pandemic.
“This is how you treat people in New Jersey? You make them stand in line for five or six hours and you treat them like cattle? I think it’s disgusting,” Bramnick said. “You have to go out there and apologize.”
In July Bramnick fought the MVC to restore order when reopening, but change has been slow.
“Motor vehicles is a complete mess,” he said. “Hundreds of people outside and no one from the State outside to organize.”