SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Lawmakers are keeping the pressure on the California Department of Motor Vehicles as it boasts shorter wait times at its offices.

Over the past month, the DMV says the average wait time at offices across Northern California have dropped by 50 minutes, but lawmakers say that’s still short of where their own rules say they should be.

They point to state code that says nobody should be waiting more than 30 minutes. It’s something that DMV Director Jean Shiomoto says she’s aware of, but adds that change doesn’t happen overnight and she’s committed to hitting that mark.

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Wait times at the DMV have been on the rise in part because of the shift to federally required Real ID systems in California, as well as an infrastructure in need of an upgrade.

With a 6-month-old in tow, every minute counts for busy dad Elias Navarro. He says he spent five hours in line last month at the DMV.

“I didn’t get called until after closing time, so that was pretty bad,” he said.

But just last week he had a noticeable and welcome change.

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“I came a week ago, and I was in and out pretty fast. I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

Shiomoto says wait times across the Sacramento region went from more than two hours down to 84 minutes in the last month. She credits an additional $16 million from the legislature for the shift.

“We’re working really hard to make it a better customer experience,” she said.

That money includes hiring more people, extending hours, offering Saturday service and adding an expedited window for customers.

“If you’re here to pick up a disabled placard, or a vehicle record or if you’ve started a process and need to finish it, you can come to these expidited windows and we’re able to get customers in and out a lot quicker,” she said.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) says the shorter wait times are a good start, but argues it’s not enough for wait times to still be near an hour and a half.

“Tere is a rule that says it is the intention of the California legislature that anybody who goes into the DMV during regular hours, for the regular kinds of things you do at the DMV, shall not wait any longer than 30 minutes in any line,” he said.

With taxpayer dollars on the line, he says DMV leadership needs to be held accountable until those wait times are down to an average of half an hour.

“We’re going to continue to insist that they meet the very standard that is in their own vehicle code,” he said.


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