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View Full Version : Replace public servants with machines


JonIrenicus
05-27-2011, 04:13 AM
Ok not all of them, just some. Or even if you keep them all, still add the robots. I did a yearly ritual earlier yesterday morning in getting my car registered, along with a smog check. The place I got it tested was about 5 minutes away from the dmv. That was quick as I was the first in line. The DMV was not expected to be quick though.


I had carved out a 2-4 hour chunk in the day so that I would have enough time to slog through and wait behind masses of people, and you know what I found? The dmv was emptier than I had ever seen it. Still full of people, but much less than bursting at the seams. I talked to the guy at the counter about playing the registration, resigned to get a ticket and wait decades, and he pointed me towards a machine for automated registration renewal.

I tried it, scanned the renewal notice bar code, it pulled up my records, it had electronic records of current insurance along with the copy of a passed smog test I took about 15 minutes earlier. Payed the fee with a debit card, it printed out my registration card, with a sticker to place on my car.

All told less than 5 freaking minutes spent in the dmv, total.

Less time than doing the same thing at a AAA location.

That machine is soooooooooooooo much better than having the personnel there performing routine checks on a routine transaction. It makes you wonder why such a thing was not added sooner. I think it is what dented the dmv wait population, and it made my day so much more... free.


So if we can't replace many or all public servants, at least add the machines anyway. For many things, they are so much better. And even if it means there are a few less people manning the isles, it is a net gain for us all.

bjkeefe
05-27-2011, 06:19 AM
Not sure what state you live in, but in the past three that I've lived in, I've been able to do virtually every car- and driving-related thing online or over the phone or through the mail. The few times I had to go in (to get a picture taken for a license, due to moving to a new state, for example), I found making an appointment ahead of time resulted in a wait time of only a few minutes. In at least two cases that I can think of, I was taken care of as soon as I identified myself and gave my appointment info.

I have never had a problem with the people who work at the DMV, either, particularly when thinking of some experiences I've had with say, counterpeople at fast-food restaurants, servers in higher-end restaurants, convenience store clerk, or retail salespeople (what is it with people who work in pet supply stores?).

miceelf
05-27-2011, 07:43 AM
I have never had a problem with the people who work at the DMV, either, particularly when thinking of some experiences I've had with say, counterpeople at fast-food restaurants, servers in higher-end restaurants, convenience store clerk, or retail salespeople (what is it with people who work in pet supply stores?).

In all honesty, my experience is similar to yours. The DMV, at least in my area, is about as good in terms of service as the local McDonald's. I remember when I first went to get my license in my new state here, I had heard all the horror stories/stereotypes, and packed reading material. I was in and out in 15 minutes and people were pleasant. (shrug).

Agree that automating is convenient. My biggest complaint about the DMV was the hassle in getting there.

Ocean
05-27-2011, 08:11 AM
In all honesty, my experience is similar to yours. The DMV, at least in my area, is about as good in terms of service as the local McDonald's. I remember when I first went to get my license in my new state here, I had heard all the horror stories/stereotypes, and packed reading material. I was in and out in 15 minutes and people were pleasant. (shrug).

Agree that automating is convenient. My biggest complaint about the DMV was the hassle in getting there.

Yes, I add my voice to the smooth overall pleasant experience at DMV. But, I also acknowledge I'm referring to suburban DMVs. I don't know whether the experience may be different in more densely populated areas. As to automation and online services, same thing as above, I hardly ever have to go in person to the DMV. Car inspection is a breeze, perhaps around 15-20 minutes total. There's usually no lines or a car or two in front at most.

To make the experience even better they should include a free car wash with the inspection. I also advocate for a free massage when you go for your annual medical check up. :)

stephanie
05-27-2011, 10:58 AM
Yes, I add my voice to the smooth overall pleasant experience at DMV. But, I also acknowledge I'm referring to suburban DMVs. I don't know whether the experience may be different in more densely populated areas.

I wonder if DMV has gotten better, also. For example, my cable company used to be a real nightmare, and is now quite pleasant to deal with. My gas and electric services have improved, though not as dramatically.

The DMV I remember from my first experiences with it was awful, with insane lines for everything, unpleasant people, etc. The DMV from when I first moved to where I currently live was fine, unobjectionable, which I attributed to going right when it opened (but maybe it would have been fine even without that -- I just assumed). Subsequently, every time I've gone (and I don't even worry about the time), it's been quite quick and the people pleasant. This is in a big city, even.

Don Zeko
05-27-2011, 11:15 AM
I wonder if DMV has gotten better, also. For example, my cable company used to be a real nightmare, and is now quite pleasant to deal with. My gas and electric services have improved, though not as dramatically.

The DMV I remember from my first experiences with it was awful, with insane lines for everything, unpleasant people, etc. The DMV from when I first moved to where I currently live was fine, unobjectionable, which I attributed to going right when it opened (but maybe it would have been fine even without that -- I just assumed). Subsequently, every time I've gone (and I don't even worry about the time), it's been quite quick and the people pleasant. This is in a big city, even.

My experiences with the DMV have all been pretty reasonable as well. Perhaps there's been a substantial improvement in service over the past decade or two.

JonIrenicus
05-28-2011, 03:49 AM
You all must live in some sort of utopian cities, maybe it's been because I was away from the dmv for a couple years using AAA instead which made the contrast more pronounced. But if you all never had long waits... yeah you must live up in the mountains like those south park kids.

Ocean
05-28-2011, 11:20 AM
You all must live in some sort of utopian cities, maybe it's been because I was away from the dmv for a couple years using AAA instead which made the contrast more pronounced. But if you all never had long waits... yeah you must live up in the mountains like those south park kids.

No, not at all. I'm about 40 miles away from New York City. No mountains over here.

TwinSwords
05-28-2011, 11:33 AM
You all must live in some sort of utopian cities, maybe it's been because I was away from the dmv for a couple years using AAA instead which made the contrast more pronounced. But if you all never had long waits... yeah you must live up in the mountains like those south park kids.

I grew up in metro Detroit, population 3.5 million, and the state government controlled Secretary of State (we don't call it "DMV" here) ran beautifully. Later, I moved to Ohio, where most government services had been outsourced to the lowest bidder, i.e., whoever promised to do the crappiest job, and -- predictably -- service was awful. To get a driver's license, you first had to make an appointment by telephone. But it was almost impossible to get anyone to answer the phone. I had a job at the time managing a game/hobby store, so I had lots of time to call the number over and over and over when there were no customers in the store. Once I finally made an appointment, the byzantine process just got worse. Eventually I gave up and crossed the Ohio river into Kentucky, where my girlfriend lived. Pretending to be a Kentucky resident by using her Kentucky address, I was able to get a license in 15 minutes -- by walking into the highly efficient, competently staffed and state controlled Kentucky DMV.

So, I just laugh when people talk about the natural inefficiency of government compared to the magical competence of private enterprise. It's dogma, and fact free.

bjkeefe
05-28-2011, 01:34 PM
You all must live in some sort of utopian cities, maybe it's been because I was away from the dmv for a couple years using AAA instead which made the contrast more pronounced. But if you all never had long waits... yeah you must live up in the mountains like those south park kids.

I don't think they have DMV offices up in the mountains.

In the three experiences I referred to, I was at those times in a big city, a small city, and a medium city, respectively and in that order.

Not that it would have much mattered, since, as I said, I did at least 90% of my business with them through mail, over the phone, and online.

I suppose, if we want to apply your sort of mindless tribalism, we could say the reason my in-person experiences were all good was because they all came while visiting DMV offices in blue states.

Don Zeko
05-28-2011, 01:37 PM
This (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Motor+Vehicle+Department,+2001+Silas+Creek+Parkw ay,+Winston-Salem,+NC+27103-5147&aq=0&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=36.231745,86.572266&ie=UTF8&hq=Motor+Vehicle+Department,&hnear=2001+Silas+Creek+Pkwy,+Winston-Salem,+North+Carolina+27103&ll=36.070765,-80.267615&spn=0.008603,0.021136&t=h&z=16) isn't even suburban, and it's the only DMV I've ever used.

stephanie
05-28-2011, 02:32 PM
You all must live in some sort of utopian cities, maybe it's been because I was away from the dmv for a couple years using AAA instead which made the contrast more pronounced. But if you all never had long waits... yeah you must live up in the mountains like those south park kids.

The DMV I was talking about is in downtown Chicago.