New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Bucco: NJMVC Fails to Demonstrate Plan to Meet Surge in Demand Upon Reopening

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Says Failure to Detail Staffing Plan Reminiscent of Predictable Failures in Unemployment System

Senator Anthony M. Bucco said the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) has failed to respond to his repeated requests to produce an overview of their reopening plan to demonstrate they will have sufficient capacity to handle a surge in customers that should be expected after agency offices have been closed for months.

Sen. Tony Bucco said the NJMVC has failed to respond to his repeated requests to produce an overview of their reopening plan to demonstrate they will have sufficient capacity to handle a surge in customers that should be expected after agency offices have been closed for months. (Wikimedia Commons)

“Most of our NJMVC agencies are mobbed on a good day with waiting times that can last hours,” said Bucco (R-25). “Unless they prepare a battle plan and significantly increase staffing for reopening, they should expect to be overwhelmed by many thousands of people who have waited months to get driver’s licenses, transfer titles, and conduct other critical transactions that cannot be completed online. I’ve been warning them for weeks to try to prevent a repeat of the staffing failures that led to our unemployment system being overwhelmed, but it doesn’t appear that anyone is listening.”

NJMVC agencies were closed on March 15th in response to COVID-19. After several extensions, the closures of agencies and inspections facilities will continue until at least June 8th.

“After nearly three months of being closed, it should be obvious that NJMVC agencies are going to get crushed upon reopening,” said Bucco. “I’ve been trying to alert the administration to this disaster that’s looming at the NJMVC, and just like they did with nursing homes and unemployment, they refuse to heed the warnings.”

Bucco sent a pair of messages to NJMVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton on May 7th and May 19th that have gone answered. In the letters, he urged the NJMVC to explain if it had a plan for extra staffing, to share the plan if one exists, and offered recommendations that could shift significant volume away from NJMVC agencies.

“Not only has the NJMVC failed to demonstrate a plan for reopening as a I requested, they didn’t even acknowledge my outreach or concerns,” added Bucco. “Time and again, legislators from both parties have tried to help the governor to protect the New Jerseyans we all serve, and time and again the administration retreats into its bunker while everyone else gets shelled. It’s unbelievable.”

Bucco’s messages to Chief Fulton are included below:

May 7, 2020 3:37 pm

Chief Fulton,

I hope this email finds you doing well during these trying times.

As a result of the State shutdown and the closure of the State’s Motor Vehicle agencies, I have been contacted by several of my constituents relative to developing issues that have been exacerbated by the extended mandatory closures. In an effort to calm constituent concerns, I ask if there is a MVC plan for extra staffing to be deployed to the agencies when the state reopens?  It goes without saying that the number of people and problems that have not been addressed during this shut down in conjunction with normal flow, will drive high volumes of people to the agencies across the State when they reopen. Services such as driving tests, title transfers, Real IDs, new licenses are just a few examples of services that have been suspended for almost two months now.

I suggest that you consider alternate ways to complete some of these services remotely in the interim. Perhaps you can consider what other states are doing in this area. Procedures such as on-line title transfers and issuing temporary licenses to new drivers under a protocol you develop to help lessen the anticipated overwhelming need when the agencies reopen.

Again, in an effort to lessen the anxiety of my constituents, I would respectfully request an overview of your plan for reopening.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,
Tony

—–

May 19,2020 10:01am

Chief Fulton,

Once again, I hope this email finds you doing well during these trying times.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a few small business owners  that operate driving schools. It was an informative and productive discussion and I came away with a recommendation that I hope you would consider as outlined in this email below.

It is recommended that MVC create the ability for driving schools to obtain a validated and fully digital permit online through the MVC website. This would help to alleviate congestion in the agencies and help to create additional space for patrons with necessary in person transactions in accordance with social distancing rules. I believe it could accomplished by driving schools paying the $10 permit fee online with a credit card, the school filling out an online permit application form for each student replacing the green hard copy form, scanning the necessary documents (original US Birth Certificate/or US Passport, the student’s Knowledge Test Waiver Certificate Card from their Driver’s Ed class, and the Vision Examination form) to the MVC for processing. At that point, a Digital Permit would be generated and emailed to the driving school to provide to each student upon verification of the required documentation and completion of their 6 hours of behind the wheel instruction.  Road Tests would be scheduled online for each student by the driving school.

This entire process delivers the exact same information and material to the MVC and would eliminate all person to person contact thus reducing the potential spread of the virus.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,
Tony

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