ROXBURY, NJ - For Roxbury residents needing in-person service at the state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) outpost in Randolph, the convenience of having the facility close to home is unlikely to outweigh the frustration caused by the long lines being experienced now that the place has reopened.

Gov. Phil Murphy addressed the situation today, expressing empathy, while State Sen. Anthony Bucco - who represents Roxbury - said the mess was probably avoidable had the Murphy Administration planned better.

"I completely understand the frustration felt by every customer forced to wait on long lines yesterday at ... MVC locations throughout the state,"said Murphy. He blamed the lines on months of backlog due to the COVID19-related closure of MVC sites in March.

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"What many experienced was not up to their expectations, or ours, and we will do better," said the governor. You’re not happy, and neither am I." Murphy added he does not want anyone camping overnight at an MVC facility. 

"Stay home and stay safe," he said. "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."

Exempted From State Furloughs

Expiration dates were automatically extended at the beginning of COVID-19 lockdown for 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 work furloughs. 

As part of its plan to phase-in the reopening of motor vehicle centers, the state has designated some sites as being "licensing centers" and others as "vehicle centers." The Randolph facility, on Canfield Avenue, is a "licensing center," according to the state.

Licensing centers will provide identification transitions and driver’s tests, while vehicle centers will be set up for registration, title and license plate transactions. 

“It is exasperating,” said Bucco. “Agencies have been shut down for months, and there are significant backlogs of renewals and transactions that must be completed. I as much as predicted this two months ago and I asked the commission for a plan. They ignored me, they ignored New Jersey residents, and this is the result.”

Bucco, who also serves as Roxbury's township attorney, noted he wrote to NJMVC Chief Administrator, B. Susan Fulton in early May.

'Horror Story' Came True

“I suggest that you consider alternate ways to complete some of these services remotely in the interim," he wrote. "Perhaps you can consider what other states are doing in this area. Procedures such as on-line title transfers and issuing temporary licenses to new drivers under a protocol you develop to help lessen the anticipated overwhelming need when the agencies reopen. In an effort to lessen the anxiety of my constituents, I would respectfully request an overview of your plan for reopening.”

Bucco, on Tuesday, said "the horror story materialized in real life today" as agencies reopened.

“Clearly, they have no plan,” Bucco said. “Look at the situation. The lines are horrendous. They had to know this was coming. I warned them and everybody knew it. This is a failure of leadership from the top down, and New Jersey residents deserve better.”

“MVC is overwhelmed and understaffed,” Bucco said. “This should have been handled better, but for now, let’s push the pause button and buy some time. People shouldn’t have to put their health at risk and waste a day to renew their paperwork.”

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