Beset by crowding and complaints, the state Department of Motor Vehicles has announced it will open five Sacramento-area field offices an hour earlier, starting Monday, and will expand Saturday hours at other offices.
The head of the DMV issued an apology Friday to customers, some of whom have waited up to five hours at overcrowded field offices this spring.
“We apologize for the increased wait times,” Director Jean Shiomoto said in a press release. “We continue to actively work on solutions to get customer transactions completed more efficiently.”
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The DMV announced it also will expand its Saturday hours to many field offices, including eight in the Sacramento region – Fairfield, Folsom, Lodi, Modesto, Roseville, Sacramento, Tracy and Yuba City.
All but one of those offices will be open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Aug. 4. Folsom, will open beginning next Saturday, July 21, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The department said it will have 60 offices statewide open Saturdays this summer, offering all normal services except behind-the-wheel exams.
The department has come under fire from customers and some legislators in recent weeks for crowded conditions at field offices and long waits, even for people who have called or gone online beforehand to set up appointments.
The DMV has struggled to roll out some major changes this year.
The state began issuing federally-mandated REAL ID cards, which is bringing thousands more people to field offices. The REAL ID cards are driver’s licenses that will serve as identification at federal airport security checkpoints for domestic flights starting in October 2020.
The agency has asked customers applying for a REAL ID to visit REALID.dmv.ca.gov to make sure they have the right documents in hand before coming to a field office.
The DMV also changed its numbered “queuing” system for motorists waiting at field offices, but the new system confused some employees, lengthening waits. Employees in some offices are being retrained.