Letter: Todd Cimino-Johnson, Leesburg

Editor:  On Feb. 7, I sent in a title transfer and registration for a new car purchase. I paid a premium to send it next day mail to the address listed on the DMV website, thinking this would increase the time to process and return. I checked online first and the next appointment in a 50-mile radius was two months away. It has now been almost a month, and my title and registration have not been processed.

I have called the main customer service line for several weeks to get an automated message telling me to go online for over 50 services. I was not able to even speak to someone. It is impossible to transfer a title to a car online. Finally, last week I heard a regular ring and then through to a human after a 30-minute wait. She put me on a five-minute hold to find out if they had my paperwork. She came back and said they had the paperwork. I asked how long it would be before it was processed. The answer was alarming—a few more weeks, but no guarantee! 

How much backlog is there at the DMV right now? How could someone who just purchased a car for the first time wait five to eight weeks to drive that car? Or someone ready to obtain their license? Right now, there is an unemployment rate of 5% in Virginia. My suggestion to the governor is to hire those unemployed to empty the backlog of DMV processing. This move is a win for both the unemployed and the state.  

The DMV requires significant reform if a typical transaction takes eight weeks to process. If you decide to buy a car tomorrow, it’s going to be a few months before you can drive it. All over their website there are warnings about post office delays. This is not a postal service issue, this is a DMV issue. 

First, open the DMV to better hours for those working various shifts. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. is not feasible. Every DMV should be open until 9 p.m. Saturday should be a full day, not 9 a.m until 12 p.m. Some locations are only available until 5 p.m. and never on Saturday. Not every person can take off work to go to the DMV during those hours. 

Secondly, work to get rid of any backlog in processing. Not one person should be waiting for more than a two-week turnaround for documents. We are one year into the pandemic, and someone should have figured out this issue already. When someone calls the customer service line, they should be able to talk to someone anytime.  

Third, bring in an experienced business-minded person to revamp the way the DMV operates. If this kind of service existed in the private sector, the DMV would be put out of business. No one should wait so long for a government service that is mandated but necessary.  

Todd Cimino-Johnson, Leesburg

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