Oahu DMV lines expected to get longer this summer
The state has a seen a surge of license renewals, leading to long lines at many centers.The wait is expected to be get even worse as renewals peak later this year.
WAIANAE, Hawaii - The state has a seen a surge of license renewals, leading to long lines at many centers. While the wait has increased for many, it is expected to be get even worse as renewals peak later this year.
Over summer, many people hit the beach or head out on a hike, but some instead spend their time waiting in line.
"Summer is our busiest time of the year, as the kids are out of school," says Sheri Kajiwara, the Honolulu Director of Customer Service.
What are they waiting for?
"We're just waiting to get our state ID, waiting in the line like everybody else, for a permit and road test," says one patient customer.
A line forms each of the two weekdays the Department of Motor Vehicles opens at the Waianae Satellite City Hall. State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro (D-21, Kaena Point, Makua, Makaha, Waianae, Maili, Nanakuli, Kahe Point, Ko Olina, Honokai Hale, Kalaeloa) says, "People are lined up outside the building, sitting on the ground, many get turned away after coming numerous times. It is hot and humid because there are so many bodies, and there is a lot of frustration."
One customer has been here for four hours, another for nearly three-and-a-half, on the day Island News showed up.
Kajiwara is well aware. "Waianae, like all the other sites, is experiencing a dramatic increase in demand," she explains.
The reason: A change in the length of driver's license expiration terms, from six years to eight, starting in 2010. So along with all the regular renewals from this year, all the ones from two years ago are also added on.
"Two years ago we were doing 2,000 renewals a month; this year we're at 12,000 renewals a month - that is a tremendous increase in demand," admits Kajiwara.
According to the department's projections. it is going to get even worse before it gets better, with renewals expected to peak at more than 13,000 a month in October. But people don't have to wait in line.
"This year we introduced appointments, so instead of waiting, you can come down at an exact time," says Kajiwara. Licenses can be renewed six months before they expire, and the city opens up six weeks of appointments at a time.
It even opened up four driver's license centers for Saturday morning appointments, and plans to keep the Saturday hours as long as there are funds to pay the overtime. But one thing the city can't seem to do is add more employees to open centers on additional days.
"We're having trouble filling the several vacant slots we have right now," Kajiwara says. Sometimes, new hires have declined the job at the last minute, with reasons like, "'I found another job, I'm working for someone else,' so we are having trouble finding people to fill these vacant positions."
When it comes to licensing, residents have a choice when it comes to how they will spend part of their summer. Kajiwara outlines your options: "You can either get an appointment and come down on another day at an exact time and be out of there in 20 to 30 minutes, or you can get in line, pull a number, and wait for service that day."