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Average Connecticut DMV Wait Time Drops To 52 Minutes


Customers at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles are enduring much shorter wait times than they did in August, when a computer system overhaul pushed the average stay to more than two and half hours.

The average wait time at DMV branches for the first 12 days of December was 52 minutes, about one-third of the average wait during the last two weeks of August, according to the latest agency figures. Wait times at the end of 2014 were just over half an hour.

"We're absolutely not happy with the fact that we had those long wait times," DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala Jr. said. "We understand that even an hour ... that's a little bit difficult to have to deal with and we're working to bring it down even further."

Wait times skyrocketed because DMV workers had to get used to the new computer system while dealing with a rush of customers that followed a weeklong closure of all branches to install the $25 million upgrade, DMV spokesman Bill Seymour said. Minor software adjustments had to be made along the way, contributing to longer waits.

DMV clerks also are now entering more information into the computer system while customers are at the windows, instead of handing off some documents to other workers to be entered later, Seymour said.

"We knew that any change ... would initially bring about some longer wait times as we put the system into operation," Seymour said. "That was what happened in every state that did this. We were willing to accept that because we knew we would work to get the wait times down."

DMV officials expect wait times to continue to drop as they work to get more people to do transactions online, expand the agency's mobile app to include online transactions and install kiosks in branches that will allow online transactions.

Of the more than 275,000 transactions performed in DMV branches since the computer upgrade, more than 100,000 of them — or 36 percent — could have been done online, Seymour said.

Kiosks are expected to be installed in the Wethersfield, Bridgeport and Norwalk offices by late January or early February in a pilot program, Ayala said. If they are successful, kiosks will be installed in other branches.

At the main office in Wethersfield late Wednesday morning, some customers groaned as they walked in the first-floor entrance and saw the long line. The DMV website said wait times in Wethersfield on Wednesday were as long as one hour and 44 minutes.

Carl Irizarry said he goes to the Wethersfield DMV three or four times a week as part of his job at a car dealership to register vehicles. He said he's usually there three to four hours each time and hasn't noticed a decrease in wait times since the computer upgrade.

"I'm always at the DMV and it's ridiculous," Irizarry, 24, of Middletown, said while waiting. "It's taking them longer to get through transactions."

Another customer, Luis Ruiz of Hartford, took one look at the line and left.

"I'm going to another DMV," he said while walking away.

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