Long lines expected as DMV resumes full operations Thursday

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Just hours from now, DMV doors will open to a flood of people who've waited a week to renew their licenses.

A statewide computer glitch put the brakes on those plans. Extra security will be on hand to handle the crowds Thursday morning.

If you're stopping by to renew your license or get an ID card, expect long lines that may even form outside the doors well before they open at 8 a.m.

It's the calm before the storm. The waiting area at the DMV is peaceful on the eve of what's expected to be a busy day.

"The best time to come is usually the middle of the day. We have a lot of folks who come in before work, maybe they don't have to be at work until 9 or 10, and we have a lot of people stop by at 3:30," said DMV Spokeswoman, Melanie Stokes.

On a normal day, from the time you get your ticket for your chance at the window the wait could be 15 to 20 minutes. Now 30 to 45 minutes because of the backlog.

The statewide computer glitch that started last Wednesday inconvenienced an estimated 40 thousand DMV customers. DMV staff worked into the night to test its computer system. Stokes said they're confident it will work.

To prepare for the crowds, DMV has extended its hours and bulked up staffing, even asking its law enforcement officers to step away from their regular investigator roles to help with security.

"Mainly to help with lines, crowd control. No we're not expecting people to start arguments or to get upset. We know Virginians are upset. They have a right to be, but I think they realize it's not the person behind the counter's fault," said Stokes.

Stokes said the money to pay for the extra security will come from the DMV's current operations budget. They just haven't come up with dollar figure. The focus now is to process the massive backlog of license applications.

"We just ask people to practice patience, and so sorry for their inconvenience," said Stokes.

Remember, state police along with Richmond, Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield are giving people a break if their license expired between August 25 and September 30.

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