Government Ineptness – Maryland MVA Edition: A Bonus Tater Rant

My daughter recently turned 21 so it is time for her to renew her driver’s license. She tried to do it online, but the system said she was not eligible to do so. We assumed it was because she needed a new picture for the over 21 license. She made an appointment do renew her license in person at the Beltsville location of the Maryland MVA. She was home this weekend and does not take a car to school. so I had the job of driving her down, waiting and then taking her to her apartment after. I assume the appointment based system was set up to avoid crowds at the offices. Instead her arrived to see this

Even with appointments, a crowd of people waiting outside. My daughter got in line and I waited in the car with a book. She texted me that they seemed to be taking people in in batched based on appointment time. We assumed that this meant they had people ready to see them once they called them in. That was way too optimistic. When they called my daughter in 30 minutes past her appointment time she was given a number and told to wait for her number to be called. So, the line outside was just a line waiting to wait some more inside. She could tell it was still going to be a while based on the numbers so she suggested I go to the grocery store while she was waiting instead of when she was done. While I was at the grocery store she heard someone say their appointment was at 11:30am and they were still waiting. It was almost 2:30 at this point. Four hours they had been waiting with an appointment. That’s worse than it was when it was walk in. My daughter decided to try online again. The prospect of a four hour wait was not attractive. This time, it allowed her to renew online. Had this been the case when she tried before we could have avoided wasting 90 minutes of our lives.

There are several issues here:

  • The inconsistency of the online renewal system. This was all avoidable if she could have renewed online the first time
  • The appointment system being so ridiculously flawed that this many people are waiting outside even with appointments.
  • Obviously scheduling more people than you are equipped to handle in a timely manner.
  • Booking so many people that people are waiting outside just to be called inside to wait some more.
  • A total lack of communication
  • I assume the inability and unwillingness to fix a system that is obviously flawed.

Here’s hoping this is the last time for a long time I have to go near the MVA again.

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