Hundreds flood DMV customer service centers as walk-in service returns

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 2:07 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2021 at 5:37 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As of Tuesday, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customers can either schedule an appointment or opt for a walk-in service at all 75 customer service locations across the state.

Walk-in services are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while appointment-only service will be offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Customers will still need to make appointments for all DMV Select locations.

“With more than 50 services available online and others by mail, many customers are taking advantage of the opportunity to conduct business without having to come to the DMV,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “But when an in-person visit is needed, customers can now plan ahead for a convenient appointment or walk-in on alternating days, allowing Virginians to choose the way they prefer to be served.”

For the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginians were able to walk through the doors of the DMV without an appointment.

While a lot has changed over the last 18 months, one thing has not – waiting in line at the DMV. However, for many Virginians, that wait specifically on Tuesday was worth it.

“We had to get license plates so we can travel in a vehicle or else we would have had to wait until November to get an appointment,” said Mary McNeil, a DMV customer.

For the McNeils, they were not going to wait any longer! The duo arrived as the doors opened to pick up those new plates, joining a line of hundreds of others.

“The line is just crazy, but they’re moving you,” said Denise Robinson, another DMV customer. “It’s very efficient, they’re doing a good job with it, they’re getting everyone in and out.”

Since May 2020, DMV locations have been operating by appointment only. On Tuesday that changed – allowing walk-ins on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Hours may vary based on office location.

“The most important thing for customers to know is to come prepared,” said DMV spokeswoman Brandy Brubaker. “Visit our website to know exactly what documents you need to bring so that you make the most out of your visit and you don’t have to come back a second time.”

“I woke up at 5 [a.m.] to prep myself, but it was alright,” said LaPaul Shelton, another DMV customer. “It was a nice wait, they’ve got the line going.”

If you do not want to wait in line, scheduling an appointment is still available. Those will happen on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“Seventy-seven percent of our customers surveyed preferred the appointment system,” Brubaker said. “We’re really pleased to be able to continue that service for those customers who prefer the appointments.”

Meanwhile, the work by these DMV employees as the line snaked around customer service centers did not go unnoticed Tuesday.

“They’re doing their job,” Robinson said. “They’re doing good. They’ve got a lot of people working trying to get stuff done.”

“They’re really very efficient, as efficient as they can be,” said Ron McNeil. “They’re moving a lot of people through in a little bit of time.”

On walk-in days, customers should expect wait times as appointments will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. During the morning hours at the W. Broad Street location in Richmond, the average wait time was two hours.

For health and safety, chairs will be spaced out for social distancing, and customers are asked to wear face coverings.

According to the DMV, with all the changes made as a result of the pandemic, the agency conducting over 10% more transactions per week cumulatively through all service channels than before the pandemic. For the week ending Oct. 2, 2021, customers completed 352,895 transactions across all service channels, as compared to the pre-pandemic weekly average of 309,111 total transactions.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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