I-Team: RMV wait times

(WWLP) – The state will soon relocate the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Springfield after there were complaints of long lines forcing people outdoors this winter.

The 22News I-Team investigates how much state officials really know about their own waiting times and discovered how accurate the state’s online wait times are.

If you’re heading to an RMV more often than not, you’re going to have to wait longer than you want.  This winter, long lines and longer waits forced people out in the cold waiting at Springfield and Chicopee RMV’s.

“This is crazy, 3 1/2 hours in Springfield and I don’t know how long it’ll be here”, said Springfield’s Gary Piteo this past March outside the Chicopee RMV.

The state claims you can plan ahead and see on their website approximately how long your wait will be when you visit the RMV, but the 22News I-Team wanted to see just how accurate it is.

On a Monday around 11 a.m. at the Springfield RMV the estimated wait time was 36 minutes.

We asked Zach Scaife from Springfield to be our test subject.  He was picking up his driver’s permit, which falls under licensing.  If the online estimate was accurate he would have gotten to the window by 11:40 a.m.

It took Zach 1 hour 29 minutes to finish his trip to the RMV.

(“You went in at 11:01, it’s now 12:30”)

“I’m not really shocked, I kind of expected it to be a lot longer (than the estimated time),” said Scaife.

The 22News I-Team then visited the Chicopee RMV on a Wednesday around 10:15 a.m.  That’s where Luis Tapia from Springfield was getting some paperwork completed.

(Do you think it’s going to take you longer or about that same time to get in and out?)
“Longer,” said Tapia.

The estimated wait time was 25 minutes.  It took him 40 minutes to get outside.

(Was this easier than going through Springfield in your experience?)
“A lot easier, 20 times easier,” said Tapia.

Celia Blue is in charge of the RMV in Massachusetts and wasn’t surprised when we told her how different the estimated and actual wait times in our investigation were.

“If one employee leaves that counter then that impacts the wait time you saw on the web,” said Blue.

Blue admits one problem they face is that customers come on their lunch break which usually coincides with when some employees take lunch.

(So is the reason for the long wait times, low staffing?)

“In order to solve wait times, it’s not only going to be about staffing, it’s about what we do from a technology standpoint,” said Blue.

On a Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. the 22News I-Team crossed state lines to see how Connecticut’s online accuracy at their DMV compares to Massachusetts RMV’s.  Connecticut’s a little different they not only show you a wait time but also the number of people who are waiting in front of you.

The estimated wait time for the Enfield DMV was 37 minutes.

George Brandt from South Windsor, Connecticut was there to register a vehicle.

The estimated wait time on Connecticut’s website was 37 minutes and there were 6 people in front of him in line.  It took him 1 hour 17 minutes to get out of the DMV.

“I made the mistake of assuming because it was a short line it was going to be a short wait, but I don’t even want to think about how much time I was in there,” said Brandt.

(What was the holdup?)
“They just move real slow,” said Brandt.

Blue told the I-Team the goal is to open a new RMV branch in Springfield in the Fall.  The RMV branch will move from 165 Liberty Street to approximately 36 Martone Place in Springfield.

Below is a list of the average wait times at RMV and DMV’s across the country according to dmv.com

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