October 18, 2010

Nevada DMV wait eased with AAA automated kiosks

The program in Nevada has been tried at various AAA sites for several years, with the latest-generation machines installed in 2008. Here is another news story on the AAA kiosk.

Nevada DMV wait eased with AAA automated kiosks | rgj.com | The Reno Gazette-Journal

Nevada DMV wait eased with AAA automated kiosks

By Bill O'Driscoll
[email protected]

Convenience and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles can indeed be found under one roof. Just not the DMV's.

The American Automobile Association has an answer to long waits at the DMV: automated kiosks at seven AAA Nevada offices, including one in Reno and one in Sparks, offering selected services at no extra cost.

Officials said the aim is to ease the strain on the DMV which, under the burden of budget cuts, has trimmed locations for licensing, registration and other needs of the motoring public.

Not all services are provided at the kiosks. But they do offer vehicle registration renewals, by far the most common transaction, as SK Kibria of Reno found out recently.

"Not bad. In two minutes, I was done. No waiting three hours at the DMV," he said at AAA Nevada's South Virginia Street office. "It was really easy. You go to the DMV, and you're there all day long."

Other public-private ventures have evolved in the name of convenience in recent times, including the U.S. Postal Service opening small post offices inside certain Scolari's and Raley's supermarket stores.

Also, since 1998 NV Energy customers have had the option of paying their utility bills at various grocery checkouts across Northern Nevada.

Growing DMV program

But the DMV kiosks are a high-profile example given the daily crush of motorists seeking registration renewals and other services.

The program in Nevada has been tried at various AAA sites for several years, with the latest-generation machines installed in 2008.

According to the DMV, the Sparks AAA location recorded 1,113 transactions for the 12 months ending July 1 and the Reno office recorded 1,966 transactions.

"It's highly successful," DMV spokesman Tom Jacobs said.

The program is patterned after a similar venture between AAA California and that state's DMV, said Michael Geeser, spokesman for AAA Nevada.

"Clearly, it's a service that focuses on convenience," he said, adding that you need not be a AAA member to use the kiosk.

While there is no financial gain to AAA in having the kiosks, they're a natural fit, Geeser said.

"There is only a usage goal set by the DMV, meaning if it's not used enough, they have the right to take it out and put it elsewhere," he said. "There's a definite connection between the services of AAA and DMV as opposed to, say, putting a DMV kiosk in an ice cream shop."

And it offers relief to the DMV, which has closed express offices in Sparks and Reno as a result of budget cuts, helping to stretch the typical wait in Northern Nevada past one hour with even longer times in Las Vegas.

OtherDMV services

The kiosk program isn't alone in the DMV's search for options to its overcrowded offices. For nearly a decade, the agency has contracted with a growing list of smog-test businesses statewide to provide, for up to $10 in added fees, instantaneous registration renewals.

In addition, many DMV needs also can be taken care of online although license testing and first-time registrations must be done at DMV sites, including 305 Galletti Way in Reno and 555 Wright Way in Carson City.

"We see all of this under the umbrella of alternatives to visiting DMV offices," Jacobs said.

For Kibria, re-registering his car at the kiosk was "really cool," but he wondered about other services not offered.

"They need a machine like that for driver's licenses," he said. "That would be better."

That could come down the road, DMV officials said.

For now, the focus is on the most pressing needs, topped by vehicle registration renewals, which account for more than one-half of all DMV transactions statewide.

"It's the only way we've been able to solve this surge in population that came with the boom times," Jacobs said. "We're constantly looking for new ways."

Additional Facts
Where they can be found 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.:
» 6795 S. Virginia St., Reno
» 4731 Galleria Parkway, Sparks (Sparks Galleria)
What's offered (credit and debit card only):
» Vehicle registration renewals
» Insurance suspension reinstatement
» Driver history printouts

Nevada DMV wait eased with AAA automated kiosks | rgj.com | The Reno Gazette-Journal

Posted by staff at October 18, 2010 10:34 AM