I’ve been sitting in this chair since 9:32. It’s 10:59. It’s only been an hour and 27 minutes. There are people around me who have become dear friends since waiting together since 8:30 this morning.
Actually, they just called one of them, so there may be hope that I can get out of here in under three hours. Where am I? The N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.
While sitting here, I read a news release from the NCDMV with Gov. Pat McCrory praising the customer service improvements and the reduced wait times. It’s dated May 1, 2014.
Well, it’s almost two years later, and I’m not sure the plans for improved customer service have been realized. The four improvements were supposed to be extended hours, reduced wait-time pilots, a wait-time reduction greeter and a self-serve kiosk pilot.
Here at the East Durham location, there are not enough seats for the number of patrons. Extended hours would not help because it’s Monday morning. We have a greeter who is also taking customers, so there is also a line of people waiting to be greeted so they can receive a customer number. I see no self-serve kiosk.
In the news release, it states that wait times were improved by 83 percent in the North Raleigh and Cary offices. Why have these improvements not made it to East Durham? My conclusion is that the “squeaky wheel gets the attention first,” and I’m going to assume the patrons in Cary and North Raleigh complained enough to get the pilot programs first. But two more years have passed. Why are these improved methods not in Durham now?
According to the census report released in March 2015, Durham County has been the state’s fifth-fastest-growing county since 2010, at 8.7 percent.
The customer numbers were given out by four alphabetical letters – A, C, D and F – and sequential numbers corresponding to each letter. When I walked in, they were calling out D506. It’s 12:13 now, and they just called D515.
I decided to be a little nosy and look back at the “stations” where a patron receives service. There are six stations, but only two employees plus the greeter. There is one customer in Station 6, no customers in Station 1 and the greeter just went back to her Station 4 to answer the phone. There may be employees with customers taking the driver’s test.
We need more DMV offices, more employees at each of office and extra employees on busy days like Mondays. And it’s time for the improvements McCrory was praising in 2014 to be implemented in all NCDMV offices.
Maritza Pearce lives in Raleigh.