California lawmakers are seeking answers from the Department of Motor Vehicles about hours-long wait times that have prompted public outcry.
Assemblyman Phil Ting says the line at a San Francisco DMV office he visited last month snaked around the block. He says it looked more like a queue for rock concert tickets than for people trying to renew their licenses.
Ting will lead a hearing Tuesday to question DMV officials about what they are doing to reduce wait times.
Lawmakers have given the department millions of dollars in additional funding to accommodate higher demand as Californians update their licenses to comply with federally mandated security upgrades known as Real ID.
California Lawmakers Question DMV: Why the Wait?
The agency issued a statement Tuesday morning, outline several things its doing to decrease wait times.
"The DMV is bringing employees from various state agencies and departments to strengthen our hiring surge and help triage the longer lines at our offices," DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said. "This year, we have already hired 500 new employees, added Saturday service at 60 offices and opened offices an hour earlier in the most impacted areas. We expect the additional surge of employees will help further combat these wait times."
The department also is using a pilot text notification program that allows the user to wait outside the field office. It plans to launch the program in the next two weeks.
Another pilot program involves self check-in kiosks. Customers with appointments can go past the Start Here window and receive a service number in the South Sacramento field office and the San Jose Driver License Processing Center.
The department also is expanding self-service terminals this month and adding 50 grocery store locations for the terminals later this year.
On Wednesday, a separate legislative committee will review a request to audit the department's handling of Real ID changes.