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12 Responds: Why can’t I get an appointment at the DMV?

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The R.I. Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) currently has just three branches open and only a limited number of customers can be served per day due to COVID-19.

“We still have to be cognizant of the social distancing and the guidelines and rules put in place by the Department of Health and the governor,” DMV Administrator Bud Craddock said Monday. “We are trying out best to try and expand reservations, to try and service as many people as we reasonably can under the COVID-19 guidelines we have to abide by.”

Through our 12 Responds initiative, viewers have been expressing frustration with trying to conduct business with the DMV, like Annie, who writes: “I have been trying to make an appointment every day at any DMV branch sometimes checking 100+ times a day for 1.5 months not one appointment has been available.”

The DMV’s appointment system works two weeks in advance, according to Craddock, meaning the next available appointment will be two weeks from that date, and it’s color-coded.

“If it’s green, there’s a reservation available,” he explained. “If it’s red, there are no reservations available. If it’s orange, it means it’s going to be posted in the very near future.”

“It’s been streamlined now so you can find the date and time first for the transaction that you want to do, and then you enter your information to lock in your reservation,” he continued.

Craddock said the appointments are usually posted between 8 a.m. and noon, adding that some transactions will no longer available inside a DMV branch.

“Any registration renewal has to be done through the mail, online, and as an added convenience, we’re going to set up a dropbox in front of the Cranston location so people can come and drop their registration renewal off,” he said. “The last two years, we’ve been close to 80,000 people a year coming in, doing a transaction that they didn’t have to come to the DMV for.”

Craddock said another problem they’re running into is people making reservations and not showing up.

“Approximately 31% of people that make their reservation don’t show up, and they don’t have the courtesy to cancel that reservation to open it up for someone else to be able to try to get into that particular date and time,” Craddock said.

Another issue is customers making multiple reservations, according to Craddock.

He said the DMV plans to reopen the Wakefield branch at the end of June, which he expects will allow them to add roughly 130 more reservations a day.

“Our goal is to stay away from the walk-ins,” Craddock said. “We don’t want people walking up to the door. We want to keep the reservations.”

You can reach out to the DMV by filling out this form.

12 Responds: Submit your financial and health questions »

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