The California Department of Motor Vehicles will close its offices statewide for a half day on July 24 during Operation Excellence: DMV Training, an initiative that aims to better prepare employees to process REAL ID applications and reinforce customer service training to address long wait times in field offices.
More than 5,000 employees will receive the training in 183 DMV offices, Commercial Drive Test Centers and Industry Business Centers across the state. Regular business operations will resume at 1 p.m., but customers may want to handle their affairs on another date to avoid the afternoon rush.
Summer is usually a busy season for the DMV due to the influx of new drivers who are applying for licenses. However, the DMV predicts that with the approaching REAL ID application deadline, and the complexity of processing those applications, customer volumes may double and could slow down service times.
The federal government is requiring citizens to have a Real ID-compliant driver's license or identification card by October 2020 to fly within the United States or enter secure federal facilities without using a passport. The application can only be processed in person at a DMV office.
In anticipation of an increase in applicants, Gov. Gavin Newsom created the DMV Reinvention Strike Team in January to address worker performance, speed of service and overall consumer satisfaction. The trainings aim to equip employees with the necessary tools to handle the volume of REAL ID applications.
"The unprecedented complexity of the REAL ID requirements is what led to the idea that we needed to take the extraordinary step of closing DMV offices for a short time to make sure all employees have consistent information in order to complete the transactions successfully," said Government Operations Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer, who is leading the DMV Strike Team, in a news release. "It is a complicated transaction and we want customers to be well prepared in order to receive their REAL ID efficiently."
DMV Call Centers will remain open during the half-day closure. Customers can renew a vehicle registration, change an address, request a copy of their driving record, and make an appointment online. Certain transactions can also be made at DMV Now self-service kiosks located in grocery stores and libraries.
To further alleviate the expected summer surge, the DMV will open 53 more offices in July that offer services at 7 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Saturday service is also offered at 62 locations.