3 ways Newsom plans to reinvent California’s DMV

Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to reinvent the Department of Motor Vehicles by focusing on better custormer service.

Newsom unveiled his plans Tuesday as he released a report detailing efforts the DMV is making to improve services after wait times averaged two hours last summer, prompting outrage from lawmakers and customers.

The state hired the high-powered firm McKinsey & Company to recommend improvements, with the funding coming out of roughly $240 million in new money the DMV got in this year’s state budget.

Here are three ways Newsom plans to improve customer service at the DMV:

1) What, no credit cards?

It’s 2019 and believe it or not, DMV field offices do not currently accept credit cards.

That’s about to change. Newsom said the state has signed a contract for credit card services and promised to launch a pilot program in September, starting in Davis.

“We need to prove that we can use your tax dollars wisely,” Newsom said. “We need to prove that the government can work.”

2) What about long wait times?

Newsom said he’s committed to improving wait time. The new budget includes money to hire about 1,900 temporary employees.

Newsom is also encouraging drivers to use self-serve kiosks whenever possible.

“Increase the transactions online, decrease the in-person engagement,” he said.

The governor is also pledging to upgrade the DMV website to make it more consumer-friendly — and that’s what customers seem to want.

“Their online services can probably be improved because I had to take work off (Tuesday) to come down here,” said Caleb Ingle, who brought his three children with him to the DMV field office on Broadway in Sacramento. “I tried the online thing, and I can’t ever get through to anything.”

Newsom has also hired a new DMV director, Steve Gordon, a tech expert from Cisco, to run the department and streamline services.

Critics, including Assemblymember Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, insist Newsom’s plan doesn’t go far enough.

“This is not reinvention,” Patterson said. “This is making an excuse for the old DMV.”

3) How much experience does Newsom have with reinventing government agencies?

Newsom explained that his background is in running small businesses.

“I come from a private sector background and entrepreneurial background,” Newsom explained. “My entrepreneurial approach is about solving problems, not managing problems.”

Newsom said during his tenure as San Francisco mayor, he made a lot of improvements.

California is the only state that advertises the DMV on its license plate. KCRA 3 asked Newsom if he was confident of that being a positive message for all Californians.

“Yeah, they should be proud,” he said. “That’s the idea. You’re proud of your DMV. It makes you feel good about your government.”

Patterson believes Newsom’s plan should be more aggressive.

“There’s no reason why we cannot go on the website,” Patterson said, “and be able to pay for our registration or license and have it immediately and quickly and correctly delivered to us, say the day after tomorrow. Amazon does that all the time.”

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/3-ways-Newsom-plans-to-reinvent-California-s-DMV-14123169.php.

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