The wasted space and long wait problem with NJ MVC inspections
New Jersey's Motor Vehicle Commission, or MVC for short, has a long and painful reputation for not being the most customer service-friendly agency. Although it certainly has improved over the past decade or so, to their credit.
One of the best recent changes the agency made was moving the New Jersey license expiration to the driver's birthday. Although some might not agree, it was something they should've done long ago.
Part of that wait problem simply had to do with too many drivers waiting until the end of the month to finally take care of business. But with birthdates now serving as expiration dates, it helps eliminate those mad rushes by spreading everyone out throughout the month.
So certainly not knocking the agency for trying to improve itself. Although I haven't had the need to go inside an actual MVC location myself, I have heard plenty of people share their positive experiences.
With that said, what about the MVC inspection stations? Well, those end-of-month rushes still tend to occur here and there.
And it makes sense since our vehicle inspections still expire at the end of the month. For most of us, it's a combination of not having the time to get to an inspection station along with procrastinating.
Most of us can admit to the latter. I mean, who really wants to go to the MVC for any reason in the first place?
Recently, I had to get one of my vehicles inspected. Fortunately for me, I was able to go mid-month, which I figured might help with the wait time.
And it did. Although there was a small wait when I arrived, the overall process didn't take that long.
Now have I had to wait in long lines in the past? Absolutely. I think most of us know that inspection wait all too well.
But this particular trip wasn't like that, most likely because of the time of day and the particular time of the month I decided to go. So for that visit, the crew at the MVC inspection station did a great job.
Of course, there's still that wait time while they're inspecting your car. And while most people were checking out their phones during the wait (the day and age I suppose), I'm looking around the facility and thinking, what a waste of space this place is.
At one time, New Jersey inspected vehicles for both emissions and safety. In fact, you could see exactly where many of those inspections took place.
But in August 2010, New Jersey eliminated the safety portion of vehicle inspections and opted to only check on emissions.
Now, more than a decade since that change, the New Jersey MVC still uses many of those same facilities for inspections that they did back then. But instead of a fully functional facility, most of it sits unused.
That got me thinking. Since New Jersey still uses these buildings, why not remodel those inspection lanes to make them more functional?
It's mostly open space as it is, and the computers and equipment they still use don't take up much space. Certainly, there has to be a more efficient use of this space.
Let's start with the lanes. The MVC location in Eatontown, for example, has three main lanes and a separate one off to the left (Please note that the following MVC illustrations are for demonstration purposes only).
Each one of those lanes could fit approximately six vehicles at a time without having to be crammed in there. But yet, only one or two seem to ever be used in a lane at a time.
And regarding equipment, there's not a whole lot they seem to use anymore. With just emissions primarily being checked, very few computer stations are needed per vehicle.
With that said, why not make the center lane a drive-thru, and divide the two side lanes into three separate pull-over spots? That would instantly double the number of inspection areas under the main building from three to six.
And since they have that fourth lane in its own building to the left, leave that one for longer vehicles or those that require additional inspections or need that additional space. It certainly would allow those facilities to be utilized to the fullest.
It could also drastically cut back on long wait times during those peak times of the month most drivers show up to get their vehicles inspected. The facilities appear mostly empty anyway, so why not repurpose them for greater functionality?
We all see those long lines of vehicles every now and then waiting to be inspected. And we probably all cringe when that time of year comes and it's our turn to wait.
It's just a thought. Hopefully, someone who's part of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is working on figuring out how to make the inspection experience even better when managing long lines is a necessity.
New Jersey's MVC has been doing a good job of trying to improve itself over the years, and a change like that could only help make it even that much better.
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.