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Secret DMV office near California Capitol serves lawmakers and their staff (sacbee.com)
24 points by mmt 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments

69 minute average wait time for DMV services statewide. Is it true that a competitive, market-based DMV industry would not produce better results for "customers"?

There already is a market based solution that performs some of the functions of the DMV, and it is infinitely better. AAA locations can do some things for members. Getting a temporary handicap plaquard took all of 10 minutes at the AAA office.

That 69 minutes is probably for appointments set in advance. Without an apppointment, at least in the Bay Area, it’s going to be about 3 hours.

This is definitely true.

"Lines vary at field offices, but Gonzalez [DMV Spokesperson] said the average wait time is about two to three hours -- an assertion that Patterson [Assemblyman] is challenging."

"People have got two-hour wait times on top of the two- to three-hour wait times in the waiting room," he said. "The DMV is not only failing to do their responsibility, they are essentially trying to cover it up."


Huh? In my experience, when I have an appointment I have only waited for a couple of minutes. Not that I have to go to the DMV in person much these days.

The trick is to drive to an out of the way suburban DMV while everyone else is at work.

Hmm, anecdata from three people in the SF area DMVs. Maybe it's not so bad in other areas of the state?

Been twice in the last month in San Diego and it was a 4h wait and a 4h30m wait at the North Park office respectively.

I did Clairemont in April, arrived at 6:45 AM, got processed pretty quickly after it opened at 8 AM. I was maybe 15-20th in line.

That was already 75 minutes waiting for opening (irrelevant if you were still the last person in line at opening, but I very much doubt that). How much longer before you were actually served?

I wasn't keeping track of the actual time, so "pretty quick" is the best I can do. Probably 8:15 or 8:30-ish.

So 15-30 minutes (assuming you got your "start here" number tickets essentially right away after opening) according to what the DMV measures, presumably at an off-peak time, which means, for a 69 minute average, with an even distribution, there would be people waiting 108-138 minutes.

Even just tacking on the 75 minutes the DMV "don't have a way to track" [1] without scaling it up, that gets 3-3.5 hours, which isn't too far off from the 4+ hour anecdata in other comments.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17743559 https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/California-lawmaker-a...

with or without appointment?

Without an appointment.

Appointments for that location are all booked a month and a half into the future.

Well FWIW I live in Palo Alto so usually used either Redwood City or Santa Clara DMVs.

As someone from the UK living in CA I am a little astounded how often people here seem to have to go to the DMV. There's simply no physical UK equivalent, it's all done through the mail or online. (There are driving test centres, but that's all they do.)

It varies by state. Some (like Arizona, IIRC) are very mail/online-heavy. Others, like Montana, at least partially outsource the vehicle registration function to the counties. California keeps it all under one central bureaucracy.

The unfortunate part is that this includes issuing the only widely-accepted form of ID, which has nothing to do with vehicles.

A web search for "uk photo id" brought up several competing "proof of age" cards, which I assume are privatized and accepted for alcohol, tobacco, and similarly age-restricted commerce. How are other things, such as banking, handled?

What about passports? The process here is, arguably, as byzantine and time consuming as some DMV transactions, also requiring physical presence for initial issuance, but at least the document lasts 10 years instead of 5 (CA.. other states vary).

Passports are also handled through the mail / online. For the first one I had to get the photo counter signed by a ‘respected member of the community’ who’d known me for 2 years (teacher, doctor, ...)

Opening a bank account now requires showing a passport or driving license (or ID card if you are from an EU country which has one.)

The proof of age cards aren’t official ID and few people had them, probably fewer since driving licenses got photos 15 or so years ago. Can drink/smoke from 18 and most places don’t ask for ID to buy unless you look very young. Would occasionaly get asked when my birthday was when still a teenager.

> Passports are also handled through the mail / online. For the first one I had to get the photo counter signed by a ‘respected member of the community’ who’d known me for 2 years

That sounds similar to how it used to be possible, in California, for a notary public to confirm identity based on personal knowledge, but that hasn't been the case for a while.

That model seems ripe for abuse, although it can be significantly limited if things like vital statistics are national/centralized. In the US, they're often done at the county level, which is its own nightmare, but changing that is likely to be politically untenable (and, before computer networking, arguably, impractical for a country with 6x the population and 38x the area of the UK).

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