Q: We in California have a great DMV system.
Ron Johnstone, Santa Clara
A: That’s a comment I don’t often get, given the difficulties of trying to book appointments during COVID-19. You need to back up your claim.
Q: The New York Times reported people in New Jersey paying up to $600 for “line holders” to hold a place for them to get into the local DMV — some lining up overnight. Compared to that, we in California should count our blessings.
A: The California DMV now allows about half of all transactions to be done online, reducing the queue that can at times stretch for blocks for those who don’t have appointments. Also, you can leave the line and know when it is your turn, thanks to a DMV text message.
Q: I turn 70 in January but can’t make an appointment to renew my license. What if I just show up at my local DMV (roll the dice with no appointment) and say I want to go in? … Will the DMV process one’s application for a REAL ID if you just show up at an office with the right documentation and are willing to wait around until they get to you that day?
Anne Kubas, Denis Cuff and others
A: This can work. A key is having all the needed documentation. Check the DMV website, which offers information on typical wait times at various offices.
Q: I went to the DMV in Los Gatos with my documents and no appointment at 7:30 a.m. The line was down the street and around the corner. I left, returning at 11:30 a.m. By then the line was only down to the end of the building. I stood in line for an hour and a half. Once inside, another 20-minute wait. Once my number was called, it was another 15 minutes and out. Total time about 2 hours. Not bad and not as long as I had feared.
Marilyn Sander, Campbell
A: And for the next guy, it was faster.
Q: I simply picked the normally low waiting period to walk in with my wife. It took less than 45 minutes.
Brian Lee, Milpitas
A: Hard to beat that. Check DMV online to know normally low waiting times at the office you’ll be visiting.
Q: Your response on how to get an appointment with the DMV really hit home. I tried unsuccessfully to contact the DMV. My license is up in January, and it does not look good to get in for a renewal. It would be great if there were someone I could contact.
Peter Doob, Brentwood
A: There is now. Go to AsktheDMV@dmv.ca.gov, or visit www.dmv.ca.gov and fire off your questions.
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