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Wait Times At Motor Vehicles Fall Sharply Throughout Fairfield County

DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra said results from a pilot program have helped dramatically reduce wait times at state offices.
DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra said results from a pilot program have helped dramatically reduce wait times at state offices. Photo Credit: State Of Connecticut

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The average wait time at Department of Motor Vehicle offices in Norwalk, Bridgeport and Danbury declined significantly in November after the agency implemented measures developed in a successful pilot program.

The average wait time in Norwalk fell 46 percent in November of 2016 compared to the same month in 2015. The average wait time fell 37 percent in Bridgeport and 13 percent in Danbury.

In July, Governor Dannel Malloy tasked the DMV with producing an analysis of reasons for long wait-times and finding solutions to reduce them. A detailed analysis revealed a number of ways to re-engineer the process, and a pilot program was launched in September and October at DMV locations in Wethersfield and Enfield.

“We are focused on end-to-end customer service and that is how these pilot projects were structured and the approach we are taking to our other branches as we duplicate these pilots,” DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra explained.

The analysis led to three primary alterations as part of the pilot:

  • Opening DMV branch doors 15 minutes early and reviewing paperwork and compliance requirements for as many customers as possible to smooth out the early morning peak volume and allow all employees to be serving customers as soon as the offices formally open.
  • Implementing a Quick Ticket service with the primary responsibility of giving customers a service ticket immediately upon arrival at a DMV branch. This eliminates waiting to obtain a ticket and then waiting again to be served.
  • Making available a customer advocate who has the primary responsibility of checking all paperwork and compliance requirements after customers have a ticket. This helps ensure that customers are fully prepared and can be handled more quickly and efficiently upon being served.

Results of the pilot program decreased wait time by 55 percent statewide, according to the DMV, from one hour and 17 minutes to 34.5 minutes. The DMV also reported a 90 percent success rate in the amount of customers who were able to successfully complete their transactions because of the pre-checks, a 10 percent reduction in the number of repeat visits that are needed as the result of form changes and the elimination of red tape, and improved accuracy of branch office wait-times that are posted on the DMV’s website.

When the pilot program measures were introduced in Norwalk in November, the average wait time fell from one hour, 16 minutes to 41 minutes. The wait time in Bridgeport fell from one hour and 48 minutes to one hour and eight minutes, and the Danbury wait time average fell from 51 minutes to 44 minutes.

“For the last few decades, our state’s DMV systems needed a serious upgrade and modernization, but those tough decisions were put off for too long. Transitions in an agency of this size and importance are always difficult and always see challenges – that’s probably why no one took on these massive issues before our administration. State government needs to find ways to improve customer service in a cost-effective manner, and with this series of improvements, we’re doing just that,” Governor Malloy said.

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