The Department of Motor Vehicles will close all its offices for one week in August for "major service improvements," but state officials said these changes will help cut down on wait times.
DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala, Jr. announced all offices will be closed from Aug. 11 through Aug. 15 for a “computer modernization project." The DMV offices will reopen on Aug. 18.
"This is a historic moment for the DMV. We're modernizing," Ayala said.
Ayala said the closure will be to complete computer upgrades that will allow Connecticut residents to perform more DMV tasks online. The upgrades will also help reduce the need for in-person visit to the DMV.
"We're doing this so our customers across the state of Connecticut have better access to us," Ayala said.
Starting on Aug. 17, the following online services will be available:
Improving the existing online registration renewal program
Online checking for items, such as unpaid property taxes, lack of insurance, delinquent parking violations, which can hold up a registration renewal and cause repeat trips to DMV
Reprinting a registration certificate from a home or other computer
Canceling a registration online
Ordering online special plates, such as vanity plates
Ordering online replacements for damaged plates
Providing customers with an option for DMV to contact them either by mail or e-mail
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the project “will significantly change how customers do business with the DMV” and make it “more convenient for the residents.”
“This will be the first upgrade of the Connecticut DMV’s computer system in nearly a half century. It will allow customers to conduct more routine business online, easing the burden on DMV offices and staff to provide better, faster service to Connecticut drivers,” Malloy said in a statement on Wednesday.
To help Connecticut drivers, Ayala and Malloy have ordered, starting on Aug. 11, the expiration date of all driver’s licenses, ID cards or vehicle registrations extended through Oct. 10. Renewals can be done without a late fee until that date.
Ayala said the upgrades to the current system need to “done during the business work day,” thus the reason for the closure.
“Customers will soon be able to ask themselves, ‘Do I really need to visit a DMV office?’ They will be able to get out of line and go online for many more services,” Ayala said in a statement on Wednesday.
People should expect longer lines close to the week of the DMV office closures, Ayala said.
“As we gear up, we expect heavier than usual business. During this period, we kindly ask customers to also use AAA offices, if possible, for license and ID renewals. Once we open back up, we also encourage them to use our new online services. This will help reduce unnecessary waits at a DMV office,” Ayala said.
Some customers we spoke with are happy the plan is moving forward.
"That's a good thing because you never stay stagnant and what doesn't work you tweak it and you make it work," Flora Long, who is DMV customer, said.
Other folks though said they are frustrated. They don't understand why some DMV branches closed earlier this year for upgrades, which only lead up to another bigger and longer closure.
"I think it's weird that they're gonna be closed for a week cause a lot of people depend during the week to get here you know it's hard," DMV customer Lawrence Thomas said.
People, who buy a car from a dealer during that week, will be given a temporary plate and then can get permanent plates through their dealer when the DMV reopens. However, you will not be able to get plates from a private seller at all during the shutdown week.
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