ROXBURY, NJ - Would Roxbury residents needing to do business with the state Motor Vehicles Commission (MVC) rather be online at home or on a line at the motor vehicles center in Randolph ?
When the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the MVC might keep some systems put in place during the crisis - namely minimizing the need to show up in person, said MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton.
“Some of these steps we’re going to keep because they just make things move faster and it’s easier for customers," said Fulton during a coronavirus press briefing Monday. “We’re certainly going to keep transactions online, keep that availability. The appointment-only [system], it’ll depend upon what’s more convenient for people over time. Sometimes people don’t want to make an appointment. They want to just come in…but that we’ll have to revisit.”
Among other measures put in place or encouraged amid the pandemic: Calling ahead in case an in-person appointment is not necessary; designating MVC locations based on services available; and no-contact license plate drop boxes.
Fulton also talked about a new ticket system that has made things easier.
“A year ago, you would have stood in line to check in, then stood in another line to get your ID checked, then stood in one more line for service," she said. "Now, when you check in, we take your number and you're free to go until you receive a series of text messages to return for service. This system isn't revolutionary. But last year, it didn't even exist in our 39 agencies."
Fulton said she understood frustrations felt by MVC customers, with many complaining over long lines and lengthy wait times.
“We know that many customers are frustrated as we've been digging out from the COVID-19 backlog,” Fulton concluded. “This has been an incredibly stressful time for our customers, as well as for our employees. But I promise you, we will never stop trying harder to serve you faster, while protecting you from fraud, identity theft and COVID-19.”
Gov. Phil Murphy urged New Jersey residents not to camp overnight at centers.
“As the MVC begins shifting to an appointment based system ... the majority of agencies customers showing up after 10 a.m. or in many cases 11 a.m. are still able to have their transaction handled that day,” Murphy said.
On Oct. 29, the state Senate endorsed legislation sponsored by state Sen. Anthony Bucco to help alleviate the logjam.
The bill would allow new drivers who passed their road tests to drive for 60 days while they wait for their probationary drivers’ licenses.
The measure is part of a package of Bucco-sponsored legislation "to accommodate motorists who have been frustrated by extensive delays at MVC facilities as a result of increased demand caused by the pandemic," said a statement by Bucco, who also serves as Roxbury's township attorney.
“We can shorten the lines for motorists who need to conduct business in person and lighten the workload for commission employees by postponing one interaction with Motor Vehicles for every new driver,” said Bucco. “The delays and congestion at MVC are inexcusable, and it is clear the commission needs some help and guidance from the Legislature. This is one of many simple tweaks that can help New Jersey residents get the services they need without forcing them to spend hours and days waiting in line.”
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