Las Vegas Sun

July 14, 2024

DMV cuts Saturday hours after people swamp offices

DMV Lines

Wade Vandervort

Customers wait to be called at the DMV on West Flamingo Road, Monday, June 15, 2020.

The Department of Motor Vehicles has eliminated Saturday hours for most services to avoid large crowds of people from swarming offices during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

The DMV requires appointments for most services during the week, which prompted hundreds of walk-in clients to show up hours before offices opened on Saturdays to jockey for position.

At 5 a.m. on a recent Saturday, 165 people were lined up outside the Henderson office on American Pacific Drive, three hours before it opened.

DMV Director Julie Butler said the agency was concerned the situation was becoming dangerous due to long lines of people forming without enforced social distancing.

“We didn’t want people to show up in the middle of the night. Nevertheless, they were showing up in the middle of the night,” she said.

Starting this week, DMV offices in the Las Vegas and Reno areas will be closed Saturdays for most services, although scheduled driving tests will still be conducted on weekends, officials said.

At the same time, the DMV is extending weekday hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and opening up more slots for appointments.

The expanded hours, adding an hour to each side of the business day, start on Monday.

Kevin Malone, the agency’s spokesperson, said Las Vegas office appointments are largely booked through November.

People with existing appointments will not see them moved up automatically when additional slots open, Malone said. To try to get an earlier date, they would have to cancel their existing appointment and rebook, he said.

Offices will still take walk-in appointments during the week for a limited number of services, such as surrendering a license plate.

Jennifer Henderson was standing in the parking lot at the Henderson DMV office Tuesday while her daughter was taking a driver’s test.

Henderson said it took about six weeks to get an appointment. She also recently scheduled an appointment for her husband, and the earliest available date was in October, she said.

Still, she didn’t have any complaints about the process, which she said went smoothly.

“Just a long wait to get an appointment, but other than that, it’s great,” Henderson said.

DMV offices were closed in mid-March because of the pandemic and did not reopen at a limited capacity until June 15.

The agency capped capacity at 50% and encouraged people to visit the DMV website to see if the services they need are available online.

“We would like to really remind people that there’s a lot of things that you can do online,” Butler said. “That message is still not really resonating with folks, and we’re still finding people that are coming in for things that they could have done online.”

The DMV is still on track to start offering driver’s license and ID card renewals online starting this fall, but a date has not been announced.

Gov. Steve Sisolak extended the expiration date until Sept. 13 for DMV-issued documents, including driver’s licenses, with an expiration date between March 12 and July 15.