MVC starts special senior hours but lawmaker says they’ve bungled that, too
The Motor Vehicle Commission on Tuesday implemented special hours for senior citizens and people with medical conditions. But one of the lawmakers who sponsored the law making this possible says the MVC is not doing it right.
Long lines at MVC offices have been a daily occurrence since they reopened in July after a three-month closure due to the coronavirus public health emergency. The lines have continued despite MVC commissioner Sue Fulton's assurances customers don't need show up early. More services have been made available online.
A law signed signed by Gov. Phil Murphy allows the agency to designate special hours at branch offices for customers at least 65 years old and for those with medical conditions. The MVC implemented the new law on Tuesday by allowing the designated customers to take care of transactions related to new and used car purchases at the MVC vehicle centers. The MVC says customers do not need to arrive before 2 p.m. to get a ticket for service.
State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, R-Morris, says the way the MVC is implementing his law will not work.
"Essentially, what they've done is now establish another line for those who shouldn't be standing in line, between 2 and 4. It just makes absolutely no sense. We gave them this opportunity to correct this situation, to correct this problem," Bucco told New Jersey 101.5.
Bucco said that he intends to speak with Fulton and suggested that an executive order could take care of it.
"The governor has issued numerous executive orders to correct a whole bunch of things. Start focusing on motor vehicles because it has been months and the lines are still there, people are frustrated and they're angry," Bucco said.
Assemblyman Daniel Benson, D-Mercer, who also sponsored the bill, said he is willing to give the MVC's plan a chance but will also seek to address the lines with Fulton.
The law also increases the time that a photo can be used for renewal of a driver's license or identification card from the current eight years to 12, reducing the need for in-person renewals.
Murphy signed a separate bill that doubles the amount of time new residents with out-of-state licenses and registrations have before they need to get those documents from New Jersey — from 60 to 120 days.
The week got off to a bad start for the MVC as offices were unable to process transactions for several hours because of a "network connection issue."
A message on the agency's Twitter account just before 1 p.m. said the issues were resolved except for the Edison office, which was hit by a power outage. A spokesman for the MVC later said a "vendor software issue" was to blame for the problem, which was resolved by the MVC's IT team, the state Office of Information Technology and the vendor.
Customers who were on line at Edison were to be given priority on Tuesday morning.
Little Silver Councilman AJ McNally told New Jersey 101.5 he was in line at the Eatontown office on Monday morning with his 17-year-old daughter to pick up her license when a man about 10 feet in front of them who appeared to be in his 70s fainted while in line.
"There was an individual who experienced a medical episode this morning while at the MVC. EMS responded and transported the individual to a nearby hospital," Eatontown police spokeswoman Theresa Healy told New Jersey 101.5 in an email.
A spokesman said the MVC was aware of the incident, which was first reported by MoreMonmouthMusings.net, but had no comment.