Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Visit to DMV, and a Lesson in Patience

Two Hours of a Life

Crowded DMV
Take number and wait in line
Read the newspaper

Gadabout recently made a visit to his local DMV to apply for a Virginia Driver’s License. This particular DMV is capable of handling large volumes of customers. It is equipped with 16 service windows, a check in desk and a driver’s license area. It is a modern facility and has 162 chairs for those waiting for service. Good thing they have 162 chairs, because they need them. Sounds like an opening to a horror story, right? Well, sort of, but not really because it all worked out in the end and Gadabout learned another lesson in patience. Read on.

When I FIRST arrived, I was asked for proof of residency in the form of a power bill or the like. My automobile registration and insurance policy was insufficient, so I was directed to return home and bring in a billing statement. Gadabout fumed and pined the entire drive home to fetch the required documentation. Upon my return, I was given a number, a clipboard and documents to complete. Filling out the standard forms took about 5 minutes, and since half the 162 seats were occupied with other citizens I decided to read my newspaper. Glad I was ready for a wait. 30 minutes later I became curious as to the length of the wait ahead of me, so I made an inquiry with the security chick who seemed to be on the ball, and she was. She looked at my ticked and broke the news that I had about another 30 minutes to wait.

A DMV is a great place to observe humanity. Pure, naked humanity is on display at your local DMV everyday (excluding weekends and certain holidays, of course). There are the young grunge couples with facial piercings, anxious hard nosed business types rhythmically checking the time, young drifty blondes...the entire spectrum! I recommend bringing a camera and taking notes!

Remember the 16 service lines? Unfortunately, only 6 of them were manned and engaged in service. It would be nice if there was an estimated wait time display because just about everyone seemed confused. Anyway, I took the time to collect service time data and found that the average time a person takes to complete a transaction was 6 minutes—including vacant time between customers. With 81 people ahead of me, 6 operating service desks and an estimated 6 minute service time, my estimated wait period was calculated to be 81 minutes—so I went shopping at Target for a few minutes. Exactly 81 minutes after the time stamp on my ticket, my number (C225) was called, and I proceeded to desk 15. Gadabout was, again, right on the mark.

The lady who took care of me was very polite and professional. I applied for my license, registered to vote, had my picture taken, paid $28 and was out of there 15 minutes after first approaching the service desk!

Here is my point. If you are in a big hurry and DMV is busy, then ask when a light time is expected and come back. If you are not in a rush, ask what the time delay will be and either read a book or do some shopping during your waiting time. In any case, do your research ahead of time to avoid having to make a separate trip! Hey, it was a better experience than getting mugged and pistol whipped.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Gadabout ~ I also had the unique experience of having to go to a DMV and after checking online found that they have a web page where you can check the "current" wait time at their locations. However, by the time I made the drive over there, just getting to the counter where you get your number was the time they had listed but it wasn't as lengthy a wait as I have heard others complain about. Maybe 45 minutes. So your readers have another option with their web site!

Gadabout Jack said...

Dear Anonymous,
Great research. What's 45 minutes between friends? The boss will never know because he/she is too busy answering to the Man!

Jimmy Ray said...

gadabout Jack,
I enjoy your witty way of looking at life... I have question for that is off topic but I know you will still give me your oponion (sp).

What do you think of the states that are doing away with state safety inspections on POVs?

The reason I ask is bacause I have found some folks views differ on this issue from mine.

I believe that states that don't require POV's to be inspected, which include; exterior lighting, brakes, horn, seat belts and other safety related equippment. Will become defective from misuse and lack of attention to vehicle..

My friends who I enjoy debating world events with, believe that state inspection discrimate (sp) against the poor which most are minorties and need to be stopped. Because the poor can't aford to fix their cars. It just isn't fair to single them out.

Another arguement is that the inspection is another form of goverment control. Like big brother is watching your brake pads...

In the Great state of Oklahoma they totally stoped checking a vehicles condition before reissue of state plates. I have found a vehicle with kitchen lighting covers being used for head light lens, or a pretty beat up pickup with orange juice bottle for tail light assembly held on with scotch tape and that was just in one small parking lot.

Well I guess they don't need them because turn signals arn't required ether.

Looking forward to reading your Blog keep up the great work

Jimmy Ray

Gadabout Jack said...

Jimmy Ray,
I am all over this topic. Stay tuned.