SPRINGFIELD, NJ — For a second consecutive day on Wednesday, hundreds of state residents found themselves lined up outside the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) building in Springfield, waiting for hours to get in.
After July 7, the first day the MVC reopened statewide, reports of long lines at every single facility began filtering in, with some people spending their entire waking day on line. The problem was so severe after the first day back, that Governor Phil Murphy addressed the issue during his regular COVID-19 briefing.
But for those stuck waiting at the facility in Springfield, the acknowledgement of an issue was cold comfort. Jessica Mahoney, a Springfield resident waiting in line with her mother Jamie, had to double back after Tuesday's debacle of a wait.
“I was here at 7:30 a.m. yesterday, and I was here at 4:00 a.m. today,” Jessica said. When asked about her feelings on the matter, she responded succinctly that she was “tired and frustrated” about waiting outside.
“To a certain degree. I felt like it could have been dealt [with] differently and probably in a better way," Jessica added. "But I am understanding that it obviously is a difficult time.”
“It’s very frustrating, because I think it could have been set up differently," Jamie said. "I found out today, actually five minutes ago, that they handed out vouchers yesterday at 5:07 [...] I stood there asking, ‘can we have vouchers please,’ and the guy goes, ‘no.’ I asked him today, he said, ‘oh, we weren’t directed to give out vouchers until after 5:00.' So I’m just like they’re making excuses and stories for this mismanagement of it.
"I understand it’s a pandemic and things are crazy, but they have to take into consideration people are in these situations and have no choices. They’re standing here for hours. So I’m very upset with them, and I’m going to find out his name, because I have to find out if this is true or not, because I don’t think it is.”
The experience was similar for Justin Grant. Grant, a graduate of Jonathan Dayton who lives in New York but often comes back to town, was one of the other unfortunate souls stuck waiting for the line to move. He said that he had been there early in the morning, and was still waiting when he was interviewed.
“I got here around 4:45 in the morning, and the line at that point went back up to the Morris Avenue/Mountain Avenue intersection,” he said.
While Grant noted that the MVC is usually crowded and hectic, this is unlike anything he has ever seen before. “The DMV [sic] is always a pretty crowded place to be, but this is next level,” he said.
Overall, while Grant was less than thrilled with the wait time, he understood that there was little he could do to change his situation, and that of others in th line with him.
“Honestly, it’s just such an unprecedented situation, it’s kind of hard to say, ‘oh, you can do this better, and all that,’ because it’s something almost impossible to prepare for," Grant said. "Obviously waiting sucks, but it’s just kind of how it has to be right now. It’s not ideal, but sometimes in life you face situations that aren’t ideal, and you just gotta suck it up and deal with it.”
Even people from out of town experienced the same delay. Victor Rivera, a Newark resident waiting on line spoke about the same frustration with time as others.
He waited Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and was back again yesterday bright and early.
“When I was walking to the DMV [sic], as I was leaving, I was asking people how long they’d been there for, and they were like, ‘oh, we’ve been here since 7:00, we’ve been here since 7:30 around that time, and it’s 4:00 right now,’ he said. "I’ve been here since 5:00 today, so I’m sitting here wondering is it going to be the same thing as it was yesterday, where the people that were here at seven are still going to be in line at 4:00, except for today, everybody came early. So being here at 5:00 is really like being here at 10:00.”
As of yesterday, Rivera had also been timing how long it took the line to move. He timed one 25 foot movement as taking 49 minutes, and said that he suspected he would get a similar result on the timer he was currently running while being interviewed.
For important information you need to know about the reopening process at the MVC, click here for the list of FAQs from the NJMVC: https://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/about/FREQUENTLY%20ASKED%20QUESTIONS.pdf