Vermonters still facing roadblocks with DMV delays

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 5:43 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 6:01 PM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Drivers are still facing roadblocks at the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, thanks to the pandemic. As our Christina Guessferd reports, drivers are asking the DMV for more direction.

Drivers tell me since they have to send registration applications through the mail, the process is moving at a snail’s pace, which has left many wondering when the DMV offices will finally welcome back visitors.

"I just came to get my license plate renewed and replaced," said Kim Burbo of Milton.

“I’m trying to get permanent Vermont plates,” said Cecelia Dry of Middlebury.

Some drivers trying to register their cars face a bump in the road. Dry drove an hour to South Burlington from Middlebury.

"I thought I would just come to this department and get it all handled," she said.

"When I pulled around the corner, I was surprised that there wasn't anybody here, and I was like, 'Oh, well maybe I won't have to wait!' And then found out the office was closed," Burbo said.

So people like Burbo have to keep falling-apart plates on their car for a while longer. Right now, all DMV offices across Vermont are closed to in-person transactions. The locations in Berlin, Colchester, Montpelier, Rutland and South Burlington are only conducting driver’s exams. Everything else must be done online, through the phone or via mail, like registrations.

"It's inconvenient," Burbo said. "I can't go around with expired license plates."

"I guess I'm going to have to mail this to Montpelier and just wait for the new plates to come," Dry said.

That indefinite wait is what's worrying Vermonters who tell us it's taking weeks or even months to receive their registration after putting paperwork in the mail.

Because of the backlog, many wonder why the DMV offices remain closed, potentially speeding up the process.

"As a state, we were opening up, so I'm not sure what the issue is," Burbo said.

"I'm a little disappointed," Dry said. "I would hope that the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles would handle this for me in a timely manner."

DMV Commissioner Wanda Minoli tells me they're exploring ways to implement an online system for customers to schedule in-person appointments in South Burlington, Montpelier and Rutland. They hope to have that system running by the end of this month.

They will work to reopen other offices after that.

Minoli says they're also developing an online platform where those who purchase vehicles through a private sale can get temporary registrations and license plates and don't have to wait for permanent ones to get on the road.

She says right now, the DMV is still processing applications that came in three weeks ago. She also says since the DMV launched new online services in June, staffers have their hands full resulting in a bit of a backlog.

Minoli says the team is working to turn the DMV into a well-oiled machine before officially reopening its offices.

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