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Friday, April 4, 2014

Monday hours at Wichita driver’s license office prove popular

By SARAH TUCKER
The Wichita Eagle

More than 70 people were waiting in the hall outside Wichita’s driver’s license office at 7:45 a.m. on Monday.

That’s right, a Monday.

To help alleviate summer lines, the Kansas Department of Revenue opened the driver’s license office in Wichita on Mondays in July and August. Monday was the first day of the extra hours. The Revenue Department also opened an office in Olathe on Mondays, too.

“During the summer, we have a huge crush of people coming into the offices,” said Jeannine Koranda, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Revenue. She attributed much of the increase to teens being out of school and having time to get their licenses.

“There’s an increase in wait times (over the summer) at all the offices, but especially in urban areas,” Koranda said.

Mike Fowler said he arrived at 6:30 a.m. to be the first in line at the office at 1823 W. 21st St. at Twin Lakes. He said he has waited many hours in line several times before, trying to get his motorcycle license.

“I came early to beat everyone,” Fowler said.

Others showed up a little later, and one man even brought a chair to sit in until the office opened.

Not many seemed to mind the early-morning wait, but several people were upset by a new text-based service that seemed to allow latecomers to jump ahead in line.

Carol Francis said she had been waiting in line since 7 a.m. People who arrived after her and texted got bumped to the front of the line, she said.

The line management system, called QLess, is a recent addition to Kansas’ busier driver’s license offices. It allows people to get in line without having to be present.

Koranda called QLess a “fairly new system (that) not everyone knows about yet.”

Drivers can join the line via computer but will need texting capabilities on their phone to know their place in line, Koranda said.

Driver’s license offices began using QLess a little more than a month ago, Koranda said. It is in use in four offices, including Wichita, with plans to expand into Andover, she said.

By the end of the day, 368 customers were served in Wichita, and 328 in Olathe, Koranda said.

“That’s almost 700 people who won’t try and come in on another day,” she said. “It’s spreading those lines out.”

In addition to its usual hours – Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. – Wichita’s driver license’s office will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Mondays through Aug. 27.

The state doesn’t plan on opening other driver’s license offices on Mondays, Koranda said.

Reach Sarah Tucker at 316-268-6514 or stucker@wichitaeagle.com.

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