CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island DMV resumed normal business earlier this week after installing a new computer system, but some car dealers say the temporary DMV closure associated with the switch to the new system has slowed them down.
The DMV had temporarily closed some of its locations and was serving customers on a reservation-only basis while new software was installed, replacing a creaky 40-year-old system. Its branches reopened Tuesday. DMV officials said the new system will be much faster and suggested that saving even a minute on every transaction could lead to 283 hours saved every month.
But car dealers have reached out to Eyewitness News to say that there are still delays, expressing frustration over the feeling that dealers are being pushed aside to accommodate non-dealer registration demands.
Friday morning at the Woonsocket branch of the DMV, the dealer window was closed well before its scheduled closing time of 2 p.m., leaving some ‘runners’ who register cars for car dealers and their clients in the lurch.
One runner told Eyewitness News that he’s used to long waits at the DMV, but with the backlog, dealers and customers are frustrated by the delays in finishing their transactions.
DMV Administrator Walter “Bud” Craddock said that the dealer window at the Woonsocket branch was closed because of the overwhelming volume of registrations to be processed, but dealers can still be served at DMV headquarters in Cranston as long as they drive before 3:15 p.m. He said that the DMV told dealers that there would be backlogs as the DMV transitioned to the new system, but said the DMV also took steps to ensure that things would move smoothly for them despite the branch closures.
“We went over and above on the reservations for the dealers during that particular time period,” Craddock said, “Plus we’ve also accommodated them that any sale made in July, they have a 40-day window instead of the 20-day window [to register].”
There are also plans in place to change the way the DMV counts dealer transactions against their maximum number of transactions per-day, in order to process more of them. In the meantime, dealers can also go straight to the Division of Taxation to handle bill payment, although Craddock acknowledged that can be an extra step for dealers who are also registering cars.