DMV for the computer age
The Kansas City Star
Motorists are all-too-familiar with long lines to register their vehicles or renew their licenses. But what has happened recently in Kansas has been ridiculous.
A shoddy rollout of Kansas’ new $40 million computer system to help process motor vehicle transactions caused time-zapping problems for thousands of people, including many in Johnson and Wyandotte counties.
Some waits for service stretched for five hours or more. Other customers showed up extra early only to find out all time slots were taken for the day.
The backlog had several causes. Offices had been shut for about a week during the computer installation, meaning motorists couldn’t register vehicles. Then, when the doors opened and the computers were turned on, it took employees more time than expected to navigate the new system.
These potential problems should have been taken into account by state officials and those who run local motor vehicle offices. If the state finds that the computer had some bugs that contributed to the delays, it should press the vendor — 3M — for more improvements, or even a break on installation costs.
Kansas did act correctly in extending expiration dates for registrations with April and May deadlines. That’s one step toward better customer service at the DMV.