Reopening New Jersey: Long lines, confusion as MVC reopens for licenses, registrations

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission reopened Tuesday for licenses, registrations, ID cards and other in-person transactions, leading to long lines at many locations with cars backed up for miles.

Perhaps the biggest change is that each MVC location has been designated as either a Vehicle Center (no license transactions) or a Licensing Center (no registration transactions), meaning drivers who need more than one type of transaction would have to visit multiple locations.
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The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission reopened Tuesday for licenses, registrations, ID cards and other in-person transactions, leading to long lines at many locations with cars backed up for miles.

The rush and confusion led to police being called in to managed the lines.

In Wallington, police responded and tickets were handed out for 200 people, who were told they could wait in the parking lot. The rest were told to leave for the day.

In Lodi, police announced at 7:42 a.m. that they were closing the agency for the due to overwhelming demand. They told drivers to avoid the area and come back another day.

Police in Wayne closed a lane on Route 46 for cars waiting on line out of the MVC parking lot, and in Eatontown, police closed the MVC entrance from Route 36 to limit anyone other customers from coming inside.

"As we reopen today, MVC agencies are experiencing extraordinarily high customer volumes," Chief Administrator Sue Fulton said in a statement. "In anticipation of long lines due to social distancing restrictions, agency management personnel were pre-deployed to our busiest agencies, beginning at 6 a.m., two hours before our start time. Additionally, all of our senior staff in operations are deployed to agencies to help process transactions. While we understand the frustration of our customers in this extremely challenging and difficult time, our employees are doing the best they can to keep everyone safe and work as efficiently as possible. Our text notification systems are working as planned, and we remind everyone that expiration dates were extended. We ask everyone to check before you go to an agency, as some customers are in line for transactions that can be done online."

An administration official stressed that the MVC is only reopening Tuesday to people who "absolutely have to get their transaction done in person" and anyone who can complete their transaction online or through the mail will be turned away.

"We are doing the best we can today," the official said. "We can't do three months' worth of work in one day or even one week."

Face coverings are required inside all MVC facilities, and customers who cannot wear face coverings should contact the MVC for alternate arrangements.

Student driver tests and inspections began on June 29, and in-person transactions were set to begin at the same time. But they were delayed due to a problem with a new text message system that's intended to prevent overcrowding.

Anyone who passed a test since June 29 had to wait until Tuesday to get their license, however.

In Vehicle Center agencies, MVC will be processing vehicle transactions only:
--Registration/title transfers for private sales
--New registrations/titles, individual and in bulk
--Salvage titles
--License plate transactions

There are no renewals for unexpired registrations, which can be done online, and no driver license or personal ID transactions will be done at Vehicle Centers.

In Licensing Center agencies, MVC will be processing driver license and ID transactions only:
--First-time licenses and permits (REAL ID will be an option).
--Out-of-state transfers.
--Expired CDLs, TVRs (temporary visa restricted licenses), and any other expired licenses not eligible for online renewal.
--REAL ID, only if you have a scheduled appointment, you have an email verifying your appointment was canceled, or you are due for renewal of your standard license or non-driver ID.

No other REAL ID walk-ins will be allowed, and there are no driver knowledge tests at this time. Additionally, replacements, changes of address, or standard driver license renewals must be done online.

No vehicle transactions, including registrations or title work, will be done at Licensing Centers.

Vehicle Centers and Licensing Centers will not process transactions that can be conducted through the website, in order to limit unnecessary visits to MVC agencies.

A list of available online transactions is posted on the Online Services page of the MVC website.

"We have to take care of the people who don't have other options,'' Fulton said.

Customers are also reminded that expiration dates for driver licenses, registrations, inspections stickers, and temporary tags have been extended to at least July 31.

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