A Textbook Government Solution

Problem: Long waits at the DMV

Solution: Triple the size of the waiting room

God forbid anyone would rethink an incredibly dysfunctional process.


  1. Not Sure:

    The Arizona DMV? You mean the place that tells you on the phone that they're open until 4:30 but when you show up at 4:10, get told they stopped handing out wait numbers at 4:00 and you have to come back another day?

  2. vikingvista:

    It would be best to do away with licensing requirements and the DMV altogether. If the government is going to extort money from its subjects, it could at least have enough decency not to torture them in the process.

  3. Matthew Slyfield:

    Duh, they have to be able to clear the queue so the employees can all go home at 4:30. If they kept letting people join the queue until closing time then some of their workers {horror of horrors} would have to work late.

  4. Not Sure:

    But they don't go home at 4:30 (or, not all of them, anyway). I came back a couple days later at 3:45 and didn't get out of the place until after 5 and I wasn't the last "customer" to leave. Which begs the question- if you can't get a number to see someone after 4, why don't they just tell you they close at 4? I mean- it's not like they close at 4:30, either. Of course, it's no skin off their nose- not like you can take your business elsewhere.

  5. Rusty Bill:

    Heh. When I need to deal with the Texas DMV, I drive out to Boerne - about thirty miles north of San Antonio on I-10. Even counting the drive, I am back home long before I would be if I had gone to the in-city DMV office just two miles away.

  6. Matthew Slyfield:

    "if you can't get a number to see someone after 4, why don't they just tell you they close at 4?"

    Because they don't lock the front door until 4:30?

    More seriously, probably because the time that they cut oft new numbers is likely not fixed, but is called on the fly by how close it is to closing time and how many people are already in the queue.

  7. Not Sure:

    On the fly? Not when I was there. I was told the cutoff was 4PM every day by the person at the counter. Would have been nice if the person who answered the phone would have told me that. And then, the day after when I got there in time to get a number, the lady at the counter told me that I needed to pass a smog check first. They somehow managed to forget to let me know about that the day before when I told them I wanted to register my truck so I had to come back a third time. I'm sure there's a good excuse for that, too.

  8. obloodyhell:

    Come to Florida, our DMV is not run by idiots.

  9. obloodyhell:


    that or


  10. Incunabulum:

    So, what is is about the AZ DMV that you think is dysfunctional? I've lived around the country and, so far, AZ has the best DMV service I've seen. Most things can be done online and there are plenty of private offices (instead of opening another DMV location, they let the market sort out where to put DMV offices) to serve customers who don't want to go to our (one) DMV office (here in Yuma).

    Hell, I can get replacement licenses without having to show up with a form and a picture, can update registration, can check for liens - all without entering a DMV (or mailing in a form). Something that most of the other states do not allow.

    I would say that Surprise increasing the size of its waiting room is actually in response to the desires of the people using the DMV. A lot of people just do not seem comfortable using the online services and will still show up to the DMV office at 0730 to let a clerk handle it.

  11. Incunabulum:

    Its fixed here. Its just the number of customers with numbers at 1600 is not. At least they don't say 'sorry, come back tomorrow' if you're still in line at 1630.

    And they don' tell you they close at 1600 because there are a (tiny) few things you can do in that half hour that don't require a clerk (and a number).

  12. MJ:

    I don't think you're getting the point. The article seems to suggest that they have increased the size of the waiting room without increasing the number of service windows. Larger waiting rooms with the same number of queues/servers will only result in longer lines/waiting times.

  13. Ward Chartier:

    I assure anybody that it is absolutely possible to streamline a process at pretty low cost faster than it will take to expand the size of the waiting area. In addition, the number of people seeking whatever the AZ DMV provides will decrease after the influx of immigrants slowly decreases. What will happen to the empty waiting space that will be newly constructed? Better to erect a nice tent, put air-con in it, and set up a row of portable toilets as the interim solution.

  14. Matthew Slyfield:

    I vote for dontgivaratsassitude.

  15. Incunabulum:

    I got that - except its not a larger queue, only one that had people waiting standing up and/or outside. And the AZ DMV has a sneaky way of managing costs (while minimizing cuts in customer service, which is to push people out of the DMV offices and onto the internet. Sure, they could open more clerks - but that just invites people to come in to the office.

    They aren't going to open up more windows - because that's a cost center - but they're happy to give you the opportunity to *wait* comfortably or leave and go online.

    I'm probably giving them more credit that is due, but I think this is on par with their other attempts to get people out of the DMV. You don't renew your license until you hit 65 - just upload a digital photo whenever your appearance changes (they expect something on the order of once a decade) and get a new license mailed.

    In contrast, CT DMVs (circa 2000-2005 when I lived there) require you to visit your local city hall for a tax sticker (vehicles get slapped with a property tax that is seperate from registration and road use fees and is collected by your local municipality) and then you get to stand in a 70/80's era rundown government office for *everything*.