SOMERVILLE, NJ - Those long lines and five-hour waits outside the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission office on Roosevelt Place are highly unlikely Friday and Saturday.

Accompanied by high winds, Tropical Storm Fay is expected to dump up to four inches of rain across the Garden State beginning Friday morning, lasting all day, which should be reason enough for people to stay home, according to Mayor Dennis Sullivan.

Sullivan was also told by local MVC officials that the office will be closed Saturday.

Sign Up for Milltown/Spotswood Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Earlier in the week, long lines snaked through the adjacent neighborhood on Tuesday; the following day, the line formed in the opposite direction towards Route 28 (Union Avenue), in response to complaints about the lines in front of their homes from residents of Roosevelt Place, Schoolhouse Lane and Fieldstone Drive. By Thursday, the line seemed to move faster, according to Sullivan. By late morning, it only stretched as far as the small shopping center at the corner of the state highway and Roosevelt Place.

Many of those who traveled to the Somerville MVC office had arrived in the middle of the night to stake out a place in line several hours before the office opened. Customers parking on adjacent side streets and private parking lots kept police busy

Beginning next week, the office, along with others throughout New Jersey, will operate on a six-day basis, open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

The following update was posted on the NJMVC website on Thursday:

  • Vehicle Centers and Licensing Centers will be closed Saturday, July 11, and will return to regular operating hours Monday, July 13.
  • Licenses/IDs, Registrations, Inspections, and Temporary tags have been extended again. See FAQ for more information.
  • Licensing Centers offer license and ID transactions. Vehicle Centers offer registration, title, and license plate transactions. Check out this guide to determine which agency you should visit to conduct your transaction.
  • Lines are very long. Consider waiting a week or more before you come in.
  • Construction in Wayne Licensing Center is creating unusual traffic – please consider going to Oakland, Paterson, or Lodi for your license transaction.
  • Many transactions can now be conducted online. Check our online services page to see if you can "Skip the Trip" to the agency.
  • All customers are required to wear face coverings when visiting an agency.
  • Other FAQs available here.

There are 23 Licensing Centers statewide, and 16 Vehicle Centers, including Somerville.

Sullivan and other local officials have been highly critical of the NJMVC; complaining that the office should have been better prepared to handle the volume of motorists who showed up to conduct their title, registration and license plate transactions.

All NJMVC offices had been shut down since March in compliance with Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order designed to minimize crowd size and social interaction in an effort to retard the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

During his daily COVID-19 press conference Wednesday in Trenton, Murphy addressed the frustrations of New Jerseyans who were forced to wait in the long lines.

"I completely understand the frustration felt by every customer forced to wait on long lines yesterday at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) locations throughout the state," said Murphy, who blamed the lines on months of backlog due to COVID19. "What many experienced was not up to their expectations, or ours, and we will do better. You’re not happy, and neither am I."

The governor added that he did not want anyone camping out overnight at an MVC facility. 

"Stay home and stay safe. See if you can conduct business online. Wait a few more days, but, don’t camp out," Murphy said. "If your transaction can be completed through MVC’s online services – use it. Skip the line, skip the trip."

Expiration dates were automatically extended at the beginning of COVID-19 lockdown for the following: driver’s licenses, permits, non-driver IDs, commercial registrations, inspections, and temporary tags.

"I encourage you to take advantage of this extended time to lessen the crowding," said Murphy, adding that there are a lot of things people can do online, such as renewing licenses. "You don't need to go to Motor Vehicles to do that (renew your license)."

To help ease congestion, MVC facilities will remain open on Mondays throughout July – a reversal from prior plans. They now will be open six days a week. Also, to ensure that MVC facilities are not understaffed, the governor is exempting MVC personnel from furloughs of state workers that have been implemented to save money in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, which has impacted businesses and the state government's cash flow.