Thursday, August 5, 2010

DMV Visit

My driver's license expires this month. Since I renewed by mail the last 2 times, the notice said I had to show up in person for a vision test and a new photo. I've only been to the DMV a few time before: 25 years ago to take my driving test (Torrance), and when I lost my license in the 90's (Santa Monica). Each time there were long lines and indifferent/inept government workers. Knowing this in advance, I made an appointment a few weeks ago to renew my license at the Costa Mesa DMV (because my only other choice was Santa Ana).

The best thing about low expectations is a low chance of disappointment. When I showed up at ~3pm for my appointment, there was a huge line of people out the door. Dang... since they close at 5:00pm, I thought I had to come back real early on a later date and get in line. Walking inside, I saw a small sign that said Appointments Only with no one standing next to it.

"Surely some of the one hundred people in line made an appointment?!"


I only took one picture... didn't want to get beat up.

I was able to get a number in ~30 seconds and waited about 5 minutes for them to call me to window 2. After answering a few questions, doing a quick vision test, and paying $31, I was done. The next line for photos took a bit longer but I was outta there in ~15 minutes. On my way out, the same people standing in line outside were still outside. I know some people have tight schedules and things come up but nobody made an appointment?

Overall, that was a quick and painless experience. Of course, if I would have gone the day before my license expired, without an appointment, I'm sure I'd feel differently. There were a lot of service windows at the DMV (about 30) but less than 1/3 were staffed... probably something to do with the California budget, or lack thereof.

I look forward (almost) to the next time I have to renew my license in person... in about 30 years.

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