DMV efficiency

| Comments (6) | Misc
For reasons that have never been entirely clear to me, the DMV seems to be fairly inefficient about sending me registration renewals for my motorcycle but extremely efficient about sending the Franchise Tax Board Vehicle Registration Collections my name so they can threaten me. As far as I can tell, they have the right address (I get the threatening letters) and they are perfectly good at sending me renewals for my car, but not the motorcycle. Anyway, I recently received one such letter threatening to suck the money out of my bank account and/or garnish my wages if I didn't pay up. You can't pay this over the phone via credit card and if you mail in a check it takes 4-6 weeks to process, by which time they've probably garnished your wages—you have to go to the DMV to pay up.

The good news is that once you get to the DMV they're amazingly efficient. The queue is short—less than 10 minutes—and they have a take-a-number system that lets you sit rather than standing in line. And once I got up there the clerk discovered that the original renewal notice had been returned in the mail and didn't charge me the late penalty. Start to finish time was less than 15 minutes. Too bad they couldn't have done the first part a bit faster.


"Amazingly efficient" at the DMV?! I note that it was gloomy and raining yesterday (at least up here), and rain days are the only times I've ever seen short lines (or efficient service) at a DMV office...

Some Alaska DMV offices have webcams so you can see how busy they are before you make your visit.

California driver's license exams (at least the written test, and probably the road test as well) use an online reservation system; it's a decent idea, but I still ended up waiting for quite a while. It probably helps avoid usage spikes, though.

Ah, the joys of government ownership.

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