KINGMAN - David Farrand of Kingman had two things to get done at the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. He had to renew the registration on a 2003 Harley Davidson, which he could've done online. But he also had a truck that he'd worked on with his son, and he wanted to register it and put the title in his name, and for that he had to go to the MVD office on Andy Devine Avenue.
It ended up taking four hours.
"It took me about nine minutes at the counter, but it took about four hours for me to get to that counter," he said. "$18, but it took me four hours to get through it.
"Then my boy went down for a simple boat trailer title and registration, and it took three hours. And everybody in there was crazy and upset."
Stories of waiting in MVD purgatory are as numerous as cars on the highway at rush hour, but customer service is something the department cares about. Officials agreed with a 2015 report by the Arizona Auditor General's Office that found, among other things, that customer wait times varied widely and that the department's internal tracking system didn't accurately reflect how long it took customers to complete their transactions.
"Although MVD data shows that its field offices overall are meeting MVD's average wait time goal of nearly 23 minutes for fiscal year 2014, some customers have to wait a long time, waits may be longer than MVD data show, and these waits are made more confusing because some customers do not know when they can expect to be served in relation to other customers," the report states.
Some people reported waits of three to five hours for a driver's license.
At the Kingman office, the issue is personnel, according to Ryan Harding, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation.
"We've had some staffing issues at the Kingman office where we lost three employees out of a staff of 12," Harding wrote in an email. "Being a smaller office, it's had an impact on wait times.
"We are working on filling those positions. We have already filled one of the positions, although it does take time for a new employee to get a good grasp on processing the various kinds of transactions that occur at an MVD office."
He noted that many transactions can be completed online.
"We always encourage folks to take advantage of our ServiceArizona.com website and avoid a trip to the office if they can," he stated. "People can conduct more than 20 different services online, including vehicle registration renewal and accessing motor vehicle records."
On Friday, Maria Lancaster of Kingman had been waiting for more than an hour to get some work done on a title transfer for her son. She came prepared for the wait.
"I told him about two hours," she said. "You just have to come and grab that ticket and then you have to wait."
As for Farrand, he eventually completed his transaction, and while he was frustrated with the wait, he said the MVD staffers did their jobs well.
"All the people are great," he said. "It's not the people's fault. It's the lack of people."