CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — As if you didn’t loathe going to the DMV enough. Now, you may have to shell out some extra money just to make the trip.
The Rhode Island Divison of Motor Vehicles is considering a $15 fee for “in-person” customer service.
DMV Administrator Bud Craddock told Eyewitness News the fee – which would apply to registration fees only – is included in the agency’s budget request and, if approved, could be implemented by next October.
On Friday, a spokesperson for Gov. Gina Raimondo said the governor opposes the fee and does not plan to include it in her budget proposal.
The DMV is also considering a $15 late fee for renewing a registration that’s already expired, according to Craddock. That fee would be in addition to what you’d pay to complete the transaction.
The budget request states that adding the fees could encourage drivers to renew online or by mail and cut down on wait times.
“Go online. Make their lives easier and make everybody else’s lives easier by not showing up at the DMV if you don’t have to,” DMV spokesman Paul Grimaldi said.
The in-person service charge would not apply to people going to the DMV for REAL ID or license renewal.
“We’re not gonna charge people for being here if they have to be here,” Grimaldi added.
The DMV said at 75,000 per year the largest customer base visiting the registry are people renewing their registrations, which can be done online or by mail.
The DMV budget request estimates the walk-in service charge would bring in more than $1 million in annual revenue, with the late fee charge bringing in an additional $1.5 million yearly.
However, Grimaldi insists the fees are not about the money.
“Try to do your transactions online first,” he said. “There are nearly two million vehicles registered in Rhode Island. That was not the case 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago. There’s just an intense customer volume that wasn’t there before.”
This story has been edited from its original version to clarify that the walk-in fee would apply to registrations only.