Nightmare at the MVC

Students Report Long Lines, Long Waits


(Thomas P. Costello/USNEWS/MCT)

People fill the walkways at the Manahawkin Plaza Tuesday morning, July, 7, 2020, waiting to enter the Motor Vehicle Agency there. Long lines were reported across the state.

Megan Gill, Editor in Chief

Ever since the beginning of the quarantine, many young adults who wanted to get their licenses had to wait until the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) was reopened. When the shutdowns began in mid-March, Motor Vehicle Commissions all across New Jersey were shut down indefinitely.

Once reopened on June 29,  MVC’s were a main attraction. After being closed for several  months, road tests, licenses and car inspections had piled up. People reported they had to wait hours just to be told they would not get served that day. For others, the MVC’s closed early without hitting their daily quota of 200 people.

For high schoolers seeking documentation to drive, this meant waking up early to get to the Motor Vehicle Commission office and even then, they had to wait for hours in line.

Senior Jen Reid was one of these.

“I woke up at six and got there at seven,” she said. “I had to wait in line for about seven hours.”

Senior Grace Jordan  said she had to wake up early to get to the MVC, just to have to come back the next day. 

“I had to do two separate days. The first day I got there at 7:30 and waited until 4:30,” she said.  “I didn’t get in, so the next day I got there at 2:00 am. There are no bathrooms, there was no social distancing, and nowhere to get water.”

Junior Alexa Waldren said the lack of MVC service by phone was also a nuisance.

“I had to call because I didn’t know what I had to do. I was on the phone separate days, for a half an hour and didn’t get to speak to anyone,” she said. “Then I got hung up on all of a sudden every time.” 

Senior Rebecca Anema reported similar issues.

“The DMV is crazy. They should be open longer, so people can get what they need,” she said. “I saw people leaving because there were no parking spots and people who got tired of waiting and left.”

Even though most students reported bad experiences in dealing with the MVC,  a few reported silver linings.

Senior Peter Duda said the long lines were a good opportunity to learn more about the people around him.

“I actually had a good conversation with the people I waited in line with,” he said. “You get to know the people in your community.”

Others reported acts of kindness.

“There was a woman who brought a cooler full of cold water for everyone standing in the sun,”  Reid said.

Senior Katie Colligan witnessed a similar incident.

“A man waiting in line saw an older woman without a chair. He left his chair in line to go to his car and gave her an extra chair of his to use,” she said. “He ended up letting her keep it.”

 As we enter the 20-21 school year, the NJMVC is aiming to continue normalcy. They aim to make sure nobody has to wait an unreasonable amount to wait for a license.

“When our Centers open at 8 a.m., tickets are distributed to those waiting in line, up to the total capacity for the day,” states the NJMVC website. “Customers are told when to return for service… We work through those customers for the rest of the day. This way, no one stands outside the agency all day waiting.”