the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, Long lines, three-hour wait times, traffic blocking roads and highways. That’s the scene many New Jersey drivers are finding at Motor Vehicle Commission agencies across the state. Senator Bucco warned NJMVC about severe backlogs and the need for a re-opening plan two months ago, but it was ignored and the result is playing out in extremely long lines and slow service today.
“It is exasperating,” said Senator Anthony M. Bucco. “Agencies have been shut down for months, and there are significant backlogs of renewals and transactions that must be completed. I as much as predicted this two months ago and I asked the commission for a plan. They ignored me, they ignored New Jersey residents, and this is the result.”
On May 7, Bucco wrote to NJMVC’s chief administrator, B. Susan Fulton. “I suggest that you consider alternate ways to complete some of these services remotely in the interim. Perhaps you can consider what other states are doing in this area. Procedures such as on-line title transfers and issuing temporary licenses to new drivers under a protocol you develop to help lessen the anticipated overwhelming need when the agencies reopen,” Bucco wrote. “In an effort to lessen the anxiety of my constituents, I would respectfully request an overview of your plan for reopening.”
The horror story materialized in real life today as agencies reopened for the first time since March 15. “Clearly, they have no plan,” Bucco said. “Look at the situation. The lines are horrendous. They had to know this was coming. I warned them and everybody knew it. This is a failure of leadership from the top down, and New Jersey residents deserve better.”
Media reports a “free for all” and even fights at some agencies.“It’s not a safe situation. There’s a health issue with this many people packed into one place and standing in line for hours,” Bucco said. The Senator suggested extending the expiration dates on driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations once again to limit the urgency and the crowds. “MVC is overwhelmed and understaffed,” Bucco said. “This should have been handled better, but for now, let’s push the pause button and buy some time. People shouldn’t have to put their health at risk and waste a day to renew their paperwork.”
NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt called as many saw it , “Governor Murphy has had months to plan for the reopening of the MVC, yet somehow we are still seeing shocking scenes of failure around the state this morning. MVC’s with five hour waits, traffic backed up on highways, giant crowds of people, and lines miles long. Just this calendar year Murphy has jacked up taxes, killed off businesses, and sent Covid-positive patients into Nursing Homes- the least he can do for us is run this piece of state government effectively after having months to prepare. Unfortunately, it looks like he can’t even do that. Thankfully, the people of NJ have the opportunity to relieve him of that responsibility next fall, and I expect they will do just that.”