In reaction to growing outrage from California drivers and state legislators over waits of up to five hours at DMV locations throughout the state, DMV officials said Thursday that help is on the way.
Beginning in June, the DMV will open 40 locations — including the Fresno and Clovis offices — two Saturdays a month for appointments from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“This is a small step forward but it’s not nearly enough. We are going to keep the pressure on the DMV until these outrageous wait times disappear. That’s the DMV’s responsibility and it’s what they’ve been given millions of dollars to do.” — Assemblyman Jim Patterson
The offices will be open on Saturday, June 16 and June 23, and then transition to the first and third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning in July, the DMV said.
However, behind-the-wheel exams will not be available on Saturdays.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson’s office said in a news release that state budget documents show the DMV requested and was given $23 million. That was supposed to result in all-day Saturday service at 60 locations and staying open until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, Patterson said.
“The Legislature gave the DMV millions of taxpayer dollars to stay open late during the week and open on the weekends and they failed to do so,” Patterson said. “This is a small step forward but it’s not nearly enough.
“We are going to keep the pressure on the DMV until these outrageous wait times disappear. That’s the DMV’s responsibility and it’s what they’ve been given millions of dollars to do.”
‘Real ID’ Cards Contribute to Logjams
DMV officials attribute the long wait times to changes that include implementing special cards called “Real ID,” a new queuing system and an electronic drivers license and ID card application.
The Real ID cards enable Californians to comply with federal air-travel rules that begin in 2020. The cards stem from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. To receive a Real ID, applicants must submit proof of identity, social security number and California residency in person.
Residents can still fly without a Real ID card after that time if they use a passport.