WAIT, WAIT, DON’T MAKE ME: New kiosks touted as a way to speed up local DMV

“Especially for county government, when people think about inefficient government unfortunately they think about the DMV,” Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder Matt Crane said

20170324-DMV-Aurora, Colorado

People line up to use the new kiosk on Friday March 24, 2017 at Arapahoe County Department of Motor Vehicles. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

20170324-DMV-Aurora, Colorado

Felipe Zavala, right, and his wife Mariah Bollig use the new kiosk on Friday March 24, 2017 at Arapahoe County Department of Motor Vehicles. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

20170324-DMV-Aurora, Colorado

People fill the benches while a short line waits to use the kiosk on Friday March 24, 2017 at Arapahoe County Department of Motor Vehicles. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

AURORA | As her new license plate tags plopped out of the bright yellow kiosk, Tina Derosier was a little taken aback by how quickly the process had unfolded.

“This is slick,” Derosier said when she had her tags in hand.

When she returns next year Derosier said she has no plans to wait in that line again, instead she’ll beeline it for the kiosk.

In all, Derosier’s trip to the Arapahoe County DMV office near East Alameda Avenue and South Chambers Road lasted just a few minutes — a far quicker trip than if she had to pull a number and wait in line for a staffer to renew her tags.

Arapahoe County installed the kiosks at four locations last month, marking the first time the automated machines have been used in Colorado.

The goal, Clerk and recorder Matt Crane said, is to speed up those often-irritating trips through the DMV.

“Especially for county government, when people think about inefficient government unfortunately  they think about the DMV,” Crane said.

The county has long recognized that local residents often dread their trips to the DMV and Crane said he “obsesses” over ways to make the trips a little less painful.

The county now offers wifi at the DMV offices and has installed televisions tuned to the news so customers have something to watch.

Crane said they also post wait times on the county’s website so customers have an idea of just how long the trip to the DMV could be.

Still though, Arapahoe County’s DMV offices were the state’s busiest last year, Crane said, and the county’s rapid population growth means they will remain busy going forward.

“We know two-hour wait lines aren’t acceptable,” Crane said.

In addition to Aurora, the county added kiosks at their DMV offices in Littleton and Centennial and at a AAA Colorado office in the Streets at Southglenn.

Crane said he hopes to add more kiosks in the coming years and have them open 24-7 so customers have options outside of normal business hours.

The machines don’t work for all renewals, including people who have to show proof that their vehicle passed emissions.

Crane said some customers are leery of the machines and prefer to wait in the line and deal with a staffer. Others don’t want to pay the $3 fee the machines charge.

But, Crane said, he is hopeful more and more people will start using them.

“If you use the kiosk you could be out of here in two minutes,” he said. “It’s a pretty easy decision.”

As of last week, the machines had processed 3,100 renewals in just over a month, Crane said. That freed up more than 250 hours for staff to handle other business, including first-time license plates and other transactions that the kiosks can’t cover.

License plate renewals make up a huge chunk of the DMV’s work, Crane said, accounting for about 25 percent of their transactions. In addition to the kiosks, customers can renew their plates online now and Crane said that service grew by about 30 percent last year.