DMV drives COVID-related shift to virtual services with 750,000 online transactions

WETHERSFIELD — Deputy Commissioner Tony Guerrera, standing in front of the Department of Motor Vehicles, spread his arms and gestured toward the empty sidewalk in front of the office.

“Take a moment and look at this. The day after Memorial Day three years ago, the commissioner and I sat in this office and stared at a line of people in the parking lot. That didn’t happen today,” Guerrera said on Tuesday afternoon.

“We have a governor who has provided us with the resources and the tools to make the quality of life as easy as possible for any Connecticut resident or anyone who wishes to come to our state.”

Guerrera, along with Gov. Ned Lamont, DMV Commissioner Sibongile “Bongi” Magubane, and State Senator Will Haskell, chair of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, discussed ways the DMV has streamlined its services and the changes it plans to make going forward.

As businesses and state agencies were forced to shut down in-person services at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DMV, like other state agencies, had to improvise, Guerrera said.

“The governor has put every force out there to make sure we’re doing what we had to do. The DMV has not closed its doors, we have made sure that our employees and our customers are safe,” he said. “We had to get people out of line but make sure we gave them an appointment system and we did. This appointment system will remain with us today, tomorrow and for the future of the DMV.”

The appointment system has allowed nearly 750,000 Connecticut residents to transact using only the DMV since January 2021, Magubane said.

In addition to the online appointment system, the DMV is carrying out a complete overhaul of its website, she said.

“When Connecticut citizens came to the DMV, it was really a godsend when they could get through with their transactions because they didn’t always know what they needed to bring with them to be successful,” Magubane said.

“We are considering revamping our website because the website is key to making sure everyone understands what to expect when they arrive at the DMV, how long it will take and also what they need to complete their transaction. “

The appointment system will also get an upgrade, Magubane said. Previously, a separate appointment was made for each transaction someone wanted to complete at the DMV, a system that is being changed to allow for multiple transactions at once.

“In the past most of our transactions were done in person and then we put in place an appointment system, but it’s not integrated,” Magubane said. “If you want to make an appointment with the DMV in the future, you can see several transactions. You know exactly how long it will take in today’s world that you can only do one transaction and when you have another appointment come back.

“In the future you’ll be able to stack your transactions, come in and get set and we’ll know what you’re going to do,” she said.

When he took office, Haskell said many of the first emails he received from voters were about the DMV, with complaints about the inability to make an appointment or about the DMV’s confusing requirements.

With the improvements to the DMV’s website, appointment platform and the ability to perform some tasks online such as B. the license renewal, Haskell, D-Westport said he no longer receives emails through the DMV.

“The processes were too cumbersome and they had to take their time on a daily basis. They needed single, working parents who between showing up for work, taking the kids to school, and cooking dinner also had to put together an hour, two, or three to go to their local DMV branch to try these complete transactions.” he said.

“If there is a silver lining in the pandemic, it has accelerated this agency’s progress,” Haskell said.

The technological improvements made at the DMV will be reflected at the Labor Department on July 5, when unemployment claims will also move to an online system, Lamont said.

“It was very manual, very labor intensive, very staff intensive. We have not been able to keep up with the burden of jobless claims not seen since the Great Depression,” he said. “We can do that much better now. Much of this is done electronically.”

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