HILLSIDE, NJ - The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission kicked off its 2020 Mobile Unit registration Tuesday in Hillside, the first stop in a statewide tour the agency will conduct during the next two months. The agency had to adjust its schedule after COVID-19 shut down all Motor Vehicle Commission locations in the state.

Hillside was selected as the initial location after Mayor Dahlia Vertreese met Tanya Gauthier, Manager Community Engagement for Motor Vehicle Commission, at an event sponsored by Congressman Donald Payne. “The Mayor and I were talking, and she said residents of the community could use our help if we could do an on-site registration,” Gauthier said. “At the time, I was working on putting together our schedule, and since she acted first, I put Hillside first.”

The Hillside visit at the Recreation Center parking lot allowed residents to renew their registration, drivers’ licenses, get Non-drivers Identification, and receive Handicap and Veterans with disabilities placards.

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The agency’s two mobile command units are the size of an RV, each equipped with the technology to deliver services similar to going to a DMV location. “I’m appreciative of the agency coming to Hillside,” Mayor Vertreese said. “We want to be responsive to the needs of our residents. Everything may not be perfect, and some things can be improved, but we’re committed to providing residents services like this that can help them handle important needs like a drivers’ license or car registration.”

Tracey Brown-Hargrove said having the MVC come to Hillside provided a sense of relief. She was able to bring her mother and grandmother to get serviced, and all three said the wait was worth it. “We’re here and appreciative that we don’t have to go to a location and wait on long lines,” said Brown-Hargrove, as her mother and grandmother sat in folding chairs.

Gauthier said there are items the mobile sites can not provide, such as restorations or new licenses. “There are certain documents and paperwork required that we just can’t handle,” Gauthier said.

Agency officials said the mobile registration has a capacity of servicing between 80 to 100 people, based on a four-hour time limit staff can be on site.  “We know current conditions make it hard for people to go to DMV locations,” said Gauthier, “The lines are long, and people don’t have time to leave work or home if they have children. We may be limited in capacity, but we’re able to make a difference.”

The registration did get off to a slow start. Scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., one of the mobile vehicles could not connect to the satellite. It took about two hours for the unit to get connected. Later in the day, the entire DMV system shut down across all the agencies. To make up for the missed time, MVC scheduled another visit to the township on October 6.