QUEENSBURY - For decades, waiting in line for service at the Warren County Department of Motor Vehicle office has often been a frustrating experience.
This includes waiting in line for 20 minutes or more, then finally getting to the front of the line to find out should have first filled out a specialized form, which requires going to the back of the line to begin another lengthy wait.
Then, the DMV clerks answer the ringing phones, immediately serving motorists who called from their homes, at the expense of those waiting in the lobby.
But Several new remedies have been launched to alleviate these notorious frustrations.
Since June, there are no ringing telephones to draw the DMV clerks' attention away from the needs of those standing in line - the calls are fed to an answering machine, and inquiries are answered later.
And the DMV lobby lines are now shorter, due to a new Welcome Desk, where simple questions are answered and appropriate forms are quickly dispensed.
The Welcome Desk was staffed and opened recently due to a new influx of customers, most likely due to the first wave of eight-year driver's licenses coming due for renewal since the state law provided for these long-term permits, Warren County Clerk Pamela Vogel said Monday.
This upsurge in licensing business will continue in the coming years as the deferred renewals roll over each year, she said as Welcome Desk Clerk Cindy Derrickson took care of one customer's questions after another.
And in the back room Monday, the answering machine was doing its work, automatically giving out basic DMV information, then recording inquiries.
The DMV staff, Vogel said, attends to the questions left on the answering machine daily during slow periods, and calls each phone customer back before the end of the shift, if at all possible.
"We receive six to seven thousand calls per month, and this is our way of servicing these customers and meeting their needs," she said. "This seems to be the best way."
This week, county supervisors praised Vogel and the team at the county Department of Motor Vehicles for their new efficiency upgrades.