SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Hours before a hearing is set to begin at the State Capitol about the long wait times at the DMV, the department announced a number of new measures to help reduce those wait times.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced Tuesday morning it’s redirected 173 employees from its headquarters, along with 67 employees from other state agencies, to help deal with the long lines. Those employees will walk the line and make sure customers have all of the required documents, along with helping customers fill out the Electronic Driver’s License and ID Card Application.

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According to the DMV director, the department has hired 500 new employees in 2018 to handle the increased demand due to the introduction of the federal REAL ID driver’s license. However, customers with and without appointments across the state are reporting two to eight hour wait times.

DMV employees say they are working 12-hour days, six days a week with no new employees on staff to help.

Other changes made recently by the DMV include:

  • Added Saturday hours (8 am-5 pm) at 60 field offices statewide (see the local offices HERE)
  • Opened an hour earlier (7 am instead of 8 am) at 14 field offices Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (see the local offices HERE)
  • Adding self-service vehicle registration renewal kiosks to 10 additional field offices.
  • Adding self-service kiosks to 50 grocery store locations by the end of 2018

The DMV also launched two pilot programs- a text message program that alerts customers shortly before their service number is called, and self check-in kiosks so customers can bypass the “Start Here” window and get their service number immediately. The text message program is being tested in several offices now and will rollout statewide in two weeks. The self check-in kiosks are being tested in South Sacramento and the San Jose Driver License Processing Center. A statewide rollout date wasn’t announced.

Tuesday afternoon, California lawmakers will hold a hearing about the DMV budget.

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In 2017, lawmakers approved $226 million in additional funds to hire additional staff and keep the doors open on Saturdays at some DMV field offices. However, the DMV didn’t start Saturday hours at 40 offices until mid-June. The Saturday hours were only 8 am-1 pm and only on two Saturdays a month.

In July, the DMV added 3 field offices to the list.

This past weekend, the DMV started opening from 8 am-5 pm on Saturdays at 60 field offices. Lawmakers plan to ask why there was a delay in adding the Saturday hours, even as the weekday lines grew longer and longer.

Several lawmakers have also requested an audit of the DMV.

In a letter sent July 2 to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Assemblymembers Jim Patterson (R- Fresno), Phillip Chen (R- Brea), and Matthew Harper (R- Huntington Beach) wrote:

“Our offices have experienced a surge in constituent complaints, and reports from across the state show that customers are routinely experiencing more than five hour delays at DMV to process routine transactions. Appointments are booked more than a month in advance, and even customers with appointments are facing hours-long waits. According to the DMV, these delays are primarily due to REAL ID implementation. The challenges associated with this process are considerable, and the spike in DMV visits is projected to continue through at least 2020. Therefore, it is imperative that the Legislature evaluate DMV’s plans to handle the workload and reduce wait times.”

The Committee meets August 8 and will vote on the audit request.

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You can read the full letter and questions here: DMV Audit Request Letter.