NEW JERSEY – Long lines, three-hour wait times, traffic blocking roads and highways. That’s the scene many New Jersey drivers are finding at Motor Vehicle Commission agencies across the state, Senator Anthony M. Bucco said.
“It is exasperating,” Bucco said. “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.”
On May 7, Bucco wrote to NJMVC’s chief administrator, B. Susan Fulton. “I suggest that you consider alternate ways to complete some of these services remotely in the interim. 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,” Bucco wrote. “In an effort to lessen the anxiety of my constituents, I would respectfully request an overview of your plan for reopening.”
The horror story materialized in real life today as agencies reopened for the first time since March 15, Bucco said.
“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.”
Media reports a “free for all” and even fights at some agencies, Bucco said.
“It’s not a safe situation. There’s a health issue with this many people packed into one place and standing in line for hours,” Bucco said.
Bucco suggested extending the expiration dates on driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations once again to limit the urgency and the crowds.
“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.”
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Sue Fulton Tuesday released the following statement, “As we reopen today, MVC agencies are experiencing extraordinarily high customer volumes. In anticipation of long lines due to social distancing restrictions, Agency management personnel were pre-deployed to our busiest agencies, beginning at 6:00 AM, two hours before our start time. Additionally, all of our senior staff in operations are deployed to agencies to help process transactions. While we understand the frustration of our customers in this extremely challenging and difficult time, our employees are doing the best they can to keep everyone safe and work as efficiently as possible.”
“Our text notification systems are working as planned, and we remind everyone that expiration dates were extended. We ask everyone to check NJMVC.gov before you go to an agency, as some customers are in line for transactions that can be done online,” Fulton said.