Wait times decrease at DMV offices

According to information released by Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office on Wednesday, Dec. 28, the time a customer spent waiting at the Norwalk DMV office declined to 41 minutes in November, compared to one hour and 16 minutes a year earlier.

The 46% drop in waiting time was on par with an overall reduction of wait times of 51% across the state’s 12 Department of Motor Vehicle offices. The office showing the greatest reduction in wait times was Waterbury, which went from one hour and 16 minutes to 30 minutes. The decrease in Danbury was more modest, from 51 minutes to 44 minutes.

Customers in the Bridgeport and Norwich offices, however, still face a wait of more than an hour.

The change is the result of a pilot program launched at two DMV offices this fall, and those efficiency measures are being rolled out to other offices around the state.   

In July, Malloy tasked the DMV with producing a broad-based analysis of reasons for long wait-times and finding solutions to reduce them. That resulted in the pilot program launched in September and October at the branch offices in Wethersfield and Enfield.

Changes included:

  • Opening DMV branch doors 15 minutes early and reviewing paperwork and compliance requirements for as many customers as possible to smooth out the early morning peak volume and allow all employees to be serving customers as soon as the offices formally open.

  • Giving customers a service ticket immediately upon arrival at a DMV branch. This eliminates waiting to obtain a ticket and then waiting again to be served.

  • Making available a customer advocate who has the primary responsibility of checking all paperwork and compliance requirements after customers have a ticket. This helps ensure customers are fully prepared and can be handled more quickly and efficiently upon being served.

In addition to reducing wait times, 90% of customers were able to complete their transactions because of the pre-checks being performed by a customer advocate. There was also a 10% reduction in the number of repeat visits needed as the result of form changes and the “elimination of red tape,” a press release said.  

DMV began rolling out these changes in its other branch offices across the state in November.

The DMV is also beginning a process of upgrading customer service over the telephone. For example, customers will have the option of completing registration renewals over the phone. When a DMV representative is unavailable for immediate assistance, they will be able to schedule a convenient time for a return call. In addition, the system will also continue to provide email assistance, which the agency currently offers customers.

State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) congratulated the DMV on its success in reducing wait times.

“I was hopeful that the appointments of former Deputy Commissioner Michael Bzdyra to commissioner and former Voya Financial Chief Operating Officer Judeen Wrinn as deputy commissioner would bring about positive changes,” Boucher said in a press release. “I am glad that these steps were taken. Process reengineering is a best practice to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve service. It is employed regularly in business and should be conducted in all government agencies that are subject to growing bureaucracy and red tape, especially one that is so customer-facing as the DMV. These steps are well overdue and much welcomed.”

Boucher said she will continue to monitor the performance of DMV branches to ensure customers’ needs are being met.