The Department of Motor Vehicles reopened its offices on Tuesday after a massive computer system overhaul.
DMV offices across the state had been closed since last weekend while the upgrades were put in place.
Officials said there were a few glitches in the morning, but they said the problems were minor. They continued to ask people to wait a couple of days before heading to one of the offices.
Lines at the Wethersfield and Old Saybrook locations stretched from the front door down one of its sidewalks. People told Eyewitness News they began lining up in Wethersfield around 5 a.m., despite the hot weather.
Mal DaSilva-Taylor said she arrived at 5:05 a.m. to be the first in the Wethersfield line.
"I was smart," she said. "First in, first out."
Also in line was Ricky Brown who was trying to register his first car before heading off to college.
"I was very excited I could barely sleep last night," he said.
Security was there to make sure people were in the correct lines. About 30 to 40 people were let inside at a time.
"I need my hazmat endorsement," said Gary Lawton of Bristol. "I don’t have a choice I have to be here to get it. So here I am standing in line since 6:30 this morning. I thought about bringing a bed and a refrigerator and stove and camping out as it moves along."
Inside, Yeritza Maldonado said she tried her best to be patient with the new employees.
"It’s a new system," she said. "They gotta get used to it.”
DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala, Jr. advised people that longer lines were expected when the doors opened at 7:45 a.m.
"I want to urge anyone who really doesn't need to be at DMV to wait a week or two before coming in,” he said. “Waits could be several hours.
Ayala noted that the long waits have been routine in other states whose DMV offices upgraded computer systems.
The reopening follows a week-long closure which, except for licensing, allowed the DMV to launch its new system. The system includes more online services that are available on computers, tablets and smartphones.
Ayala said they should provide another way for drivers to connect with the DMV to reduce waiting lines in the future.
"We think this upgrade has gone exceptionally well,” he said. “We want to thank the public for its patience. We are excited about offering the new online services that can help them avoid coming to a DMV office.”
Because of the shutdown, Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered that the expiration date of all driver’s licenses, ID cards or vehicle registrations as of Aug. 11 be extended through Oct. 10. Renewals can also be done without a fee until that date.
The new online services include:
Despite the minor glitches and the lines, Ayala said he felt the day moved as smoothly as could be expected.
More information on the upgrades and the new online DMV services can be found here.
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