Letters to the Editor: DMV isn’t scheduling most appointments. That made for one reader’s 7-hour wait

Clients observe social distancing while waiting for their turn at the DMV in Westminster on Aug. 13.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Recently I waited seven hours at a Department of Motor Vehicles office to replace a driver’s license. First, let me say that I greatly appreciate the staff who risk their health every day just to be there and serve us Californians. (“The pandemic is speeding DMV’s road to modernization. For visitors, it’s still no day at the beach,” Aug. 30)

However, I have some suggestions that I hope the agency will consider.

I spent six hours standing in the hot sun waiting to enter the building. The DMV is not scheduling appointments for most services, so for nearly everyone there is no option but to wait in line — young people, old people, people with children, it made no difference.


Six hours in the hot sun with no water and no bathrooms caused many people to give up and go home.

My suggestions: Put portable toilets in the parking lot. Make water available, even if it isn’t free. These are two simple things that would have made the day so much better for those of us who had to wait it out in the heat.

And please, resume scheduling appointments. This is needed now more than ever.

Dan Gilbreath, San Diego


To the editor: Here’s one example describing how the DMV is moving more services online.

Before the coronavirus restrictions took effect, more than one TSA agent at the airport reminded me that after a certain date my license had to be REAL ID-compliant if I wanted to use it to travel domestically.

In May, I went on DMV’s website and uploaded all the documents necessary to qualify for a REAL ID. Once those were uploaded, I received a message with a stop sign on it that said, “Bring this page to a DMV field office.”

After the San Clemente DMV field office reopened, I brought the printed page with me and was directed to a very short line. I noticed that the line of people who didn’t have a stop-sign page wrapped around the building.

I went through a preliminary check point where a staffer noted the confirmation number on my printed page and gave me a window number. I waited maybe 10 minutes for my number to be called. My payment was processed, I received an interim license and my photo was taken.

Start to finish, my time there was maybe 30 minutes. Granted, this is only one field office, but since the bulk of the work for the license renewal plus REAL ID was done online, the process was expedited tremendously.

Scott Marshutz, Dana Point