Officials: Long Waits at Kansas DMV’s Not Going Away Soon

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OLATHE, Kan. -- If you have any business at a Department of Motor Vehicles office in Kansas, you might want to bring a book or an iPad or whatever it takes to keep your sanity, because officials say that you will probably be there a while -- and they have no idea when things will start to get better.

"I discovered that I could not register my vehicle today, that there was too many people here and I had to make an appointment for tomorrow," said Johnson County resident Derrick Johnson.

By 11 a.m., the wait for new car titles was seven hours. If you needed to renew your tags, then the wait was a comparatively brisk four-and-a-half hours. Johnson County resident Laureen Gunter waited four hours with her children to get to the front of the line.

"It's frustrating to have sit that long, when you think it's not going to be that long -- especially with two little kids," said Gunter.

Johnson County Treasurer Tom Franzen says that he has no answer for when things will start getting better. That's what he told the Johnson County Commission on Thursday during a board meeting. He says that a new system designed to make the DMV process more efficient has actually had the opposite effect.

"What we used to be able to process in 5-10 minutes is now taking 10-20 minutes," said Franzen. He says that you can blame computer glitches and a learning curve for employees, but he says that the main problem is that county workers now have to collect and input data that used to be sent to the state.

"Barring any major improvements with that, we're going to have to talk with the board about alternative strategies in Johnson County to address those wait times," said Franzen. "Because 3-4-5-6-hour wait times are just not acceptable."

The state is encouraging people to go online if all they have to do is renew their tags. But the county admits that a lot of people don't want to pay the two percent credit card fee -- and more importantly, the online system isn't always working.

"We had an aunt that tried to (go online), and it said her PIN number had already been used," said Gunter.

The county is encouraging people who are renewing their tags to do so by mail -- but if you are getting a new car title, you have to come into a DMV office in person. County officials say they have asked law enforcement to ease up on citations for expired tags for the time being.

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