Following Gov. Pat McCrory’s introduction last week of the customer service enhancements at the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, the division is unveiled its innovative new mobile offices at the North Carolina State Fair on Friday, Oct. 16.
The mobile offices are designed to better reach remote areas and enhance customer service as part of the governor’s continued “Driving Change” initiatives at NCDMV – and they are the first of their kind in the nation.
“This is another exciting step in our ongoing effort to better serve customers throughout the state. These smaller and more efficient mobile offices allow us to bring the DMV directly to remote communities, helping connect all of North Carolinians to the services they need,” McCrory said.
NCDMV set up the first two new mobile offices under the DMV Tent between the Jim Graham Building and Dorton Arena at the State Fair. The units will allow people to complete the application process to obtain North Carolina driver licenses and ID cards throughout the fair, through Oct. 25.
The exhibit will also include two kiosks to provide online services and access to the new MyDMV portal for fairgoers. NCDMV driver license examiners and vehicle registration staff will be on hand to assist with issuances and answer questions from customers.
The new mobile offices will also help to introduce the online renewal of driver licenses being offered to the state’s drivers every other time they renew, sometimes cutting DMV visits to once in 16 years. The online renewals will add convenience not only for those who renew online, but also reduce waiting lines for those who visit DMV offices in person.
“These new units not only give us new flexibility, but they also offer a completely new tool in our toolbox for serving DMV customers,” said NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson. “They are the first of their kind, and we would not be at all surprised to have other jurisdictions in the country show an interest in this new concept.”
The new mobile units will be tested in various areas of the state. Following the pilot, the units will be installed in specially-modified SUVs that will travel the state in place of NCDMV’s current mobile RV units. The new units will conserve fuel, offer easier driving and lower maintenance costs, and provide the capability for flexible deployment throughout the state.
“We are particularly happy to introduce this new mobile solution here at the State Fair,” said NCDMV Commissioner Kelly Thomas. “These mobile units will offer small towns and remote areas all across North Carolina a new way to provide better service to their citizens,” Thomas said. “We are very happy that NCDMV could have a hand in that.”
The new mobile solution mirrors the driver license services that are offered in brick-and-mortar offices. The unit consists of a specially-made deck that holds necessary equipment for issuing licenses. The deck is mounted on a sliding base which fits into the back of a large SUV. Two units can fit side-by-side in the SUV.
The units contain all the equipment necessary for customers applying for a driver license or identification card: a printer, camera, computer, vision and sign tester, touch-screen tester for the written exam, a customer-facing monitor for verification of information, a scanner for documents and, for the first time, a credit/debit card machine for customer convenience.
While the current RV-style mobile units serve about 7,600 customers annually, the new mobile solutions are expected to serve over 20,000 during stops in their first year of operation. NCDMV plans to add to the number of stops made by the units, increasing them from 25 to 70, eventually allowing service to over 36,000 customers.
Cost savings begin with the capital investment for the seven new mobile solutions. To replace today’s aging mobile units would cost about $4 million. The state is investing $875,000 in the seven new mobile offices. Additionally, annual operations and maintenance costs for the seven new mobile solutions are estimated to save about $45,000 a year.
The new mobile solutions are part of Governor McCrory’s Driving Change initiatives to improve customer service and reduce wait times at NCDMV offices. The mobile solutions are expected to reduce lines in driver license offices by taking services directly to customers in remote areas.
The introduction of the new mobile units follows an announcement earlier this week about several other initiatives at NCDMV. The agency is now offering online driver license renewals statewide, introducing a more durable and secure driver license, offering a new MyDMV portal that will bring single-point access to all online DMV services, and updating DMV offices across the state as they improve services and reduce wait times.