Computer crashes make wait for driver’s license longer

09/09/2013 10:12 AM

08/05/2014 8:18 PM

This summer, wait times at Wichita and Andover driver’s license stations are ranging from one to three hours.

That’s typical for this time of year, Kansas Department of Revenue spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said Friday. But regular computer system crashes are making the process seem even more frustrating.

Thursday, computers at both stations were down, each for about an hour, Koranda said. They also were down Wednesday in Andover, when Wichita resident Steve Woodman said he was trying to renew his license.

Woodman said he planned to renew his license Tuesday morning at the Wichita station, near 21st and Amidon, but waited after seeing “probably a hundred or more people” in line.

Andover seemed the better choice, Woodman said – until the computers crashed shortly after the station opened at 7 a.m. Wednesday. About two hours later, he left, frustrated and without a new license.

“It wasn’t probably five minutes before their computer thing went down. … It’s just maddening,” he said of the delays. “It’s as though you have nothing better to do.”

The problem?

An antiquated computer system still is used at the state’s driver’s license stations.

“The driver’s license system is still operating on that mainframe system. … That mainframe is starting to get more unstable,” Koranda said, causing delays and headaches felt by people like Woodman.

“This is part of the reason we had to modernize the system, to be honest,” she said.

Recent publicity about a system update at the state’s tag office had some expecting shorter wait times for driver’s license renewals, too. But a computer update at the driver’s license stations won’t take place until this fall.

“We are working on getting those lines down and making things move quicker,” Koranda said.

Friday afternoon, wait times at the Andover location were slightly shorter – about 90 minutes.

But that was no consolation for Wichitan Daniel Stevenson, who said he took four hours off work to process a change of address.

“I don’t ever remember the DMV taking so long,” he said.

Kari Clark of Augusta agrees. The staff processed her license renewal in about three minutes, she said, after she waited in line for nearly two hours.

“Six years ago it took 45 minutes,” Clark said. “… An hour and a half is just too long.”

Those affected by computer delays are eligible for a 15-day grace period. Extension forms are available at driver’s license stations.

Both driver’s license stations are open from 7 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The Andover station is at 111 W. Central in Andover; the Wichita station is at 1823 W. 21st St., Suite 42.

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