The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles announced this week a number of changes to appointment scheduling, office hours, and increased use of technology to boost walk-in availability at its 115 driver license offices across the state.
Scheduled Appointments to be Limited to Morning Hours
Beginning May 1, appointments, which can be booked at skiptheline.ncdot.gov, will only be available in the mornings through the 11 a.m. hour. After noon, all customer services statewide will be provided on a walk-in basis.
“We’ve heard from the public that they want more walk-in availability, so that’s what we’re aiming to deliver,” said NCDMV Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. “DMV introduced the ability to schedule appointments during the pandemic, but I believe now is the time to better maximize potential efficiencies by allowing for more walk-in capability, given that data indicates up to 25 percent of appointments are no-shows.”
Even with this change, walk-in customers may still have the opportunity for morning-hour service if there is time between scheduled appointments or if a customer does not appear for a scheduled appointment.
More Offices Opening at 7 a.m.
Also beginning May 1, five additional offices will open an hour earlier to provide services starting at 7 a.m. Offices in Aberdeen, Graham, Kernersville, Mooresville and Washington will join 35 locations already providing an extra hour of service to customers.
“We continue to work on addressing our staffing needs. My goal is to keep adding more offices to these 40 with more hours so we can provide the services our residents need in a timelier manner,” said Commissioner Goodwin.
In addition to nearly 100 new examiners added across the state last year, 41 more have been hired or are in the HR process just since December.
Estimated Office Wait Time to be Available Online
As appointment scheduling shifts toward more walk-ins, a new feature will soon be available on the NCDMV office locations page to show the public the current estimated wait time at driver license offices.
“I’m particularly excited about this new online tool that will show customers the estimated wait time at different locations so they can make the best decision on which office to go to, or whether to try again another day,” said Commissioner Goodwin.
Saturday Hours Announced for Peak Season
As in years past, NCDMV is preparing to offer Saturday hours this summer during its peak season. These 16 offices will open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays from June 3 to Aug. 26: Asheville, Charlotte-University City, Charlotte South, Durham South, Fayetteville West, Greensboro East, Greensboro West, Greenville, Hudson, Huntersville, Jacksonville, Monroe, Morganton, Raleigh North, Wilmington South, and Winston-Salem South.
DMV is exploring the potential for adding more Saturday locations as staffing levels permit.
Additional Services Available Online
NCDMV is also working to provide more services online. Currently State ID cards and Level 3 Full Provisional Licenses cannot be renewed online once they have expired. Changes are underway that would allow customers with these credentials to renew online up to one year after expiration. Driver licenses can be renewed up to two years after expiration.
“We realized we had a little inequity in how we are treating ID cardholders and Level 3 permits, so we are taking care of that,” said Commissioner Goodwin. “This should help shorten lines and wait times at our offices by getting folks that would previously have to come to the office out of the line altogether.”
Self-Service Kiosks Coming in 2023
Additionally, Commissioner Goodwin is instituting a pilot program that will initially deploy up to 20 self-service kiosks at strategic locations across the state. These devices will offer driver and vehicle service transactions to include driver license and vehicle registration renewals.
“My plan is to have these kiosks at various easily accessible, 24-hour locations like grocery stores and pharmacies by the end of the summer,” said Commissioner Goodwin. “If the public responds well to this pilot program, then I plan to make even more kiosks available statewide. All with the goal of shorter lines and shorter wait times for persons requiring an in-person appointment.
Improvements Made in 2022
The above improvements and various requests NCDMV is making to the legislature this year supplement the multiple changes Commissioner Goodwin implemented in 2022. Those changes include:
- the launch of Q-Anywhere, which allows customers to scan a QR code to check-in but not have to physically wait in line at the office for their turn
- adding more offices opening an hour early
- improving access to American Sign Language and foreign language interpreters
- unveiling a new procedure making it easier to process mechanic liens on unclaimed or abandoned vehicles.
- restarting and re-tooling the Homebound and Reentry programs that provide ID services to shut-in customers and persons departing the corrections system and reentering the workforce
“On my watch, you will see continued positive changes that improve customer service and make DMV more efficient,” Goodwin said.