The Water Cooler – When Was The Last Time You Visited The DMV?

March 18, 2019 12:00 pm · 44 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

QUESTION: When was the last time you visited the DMV, and how long did you have to wait?

Talk about it….

AnonZ March 18, 2019 at 12:04 PM

It’s been so long, I can’t even remember. I use AAA offices for almost everything DMV.

Stuart March 18, 2019 at 12:12 PM

Today with a appointment they took me in early and got me out quick a great improvement Concord DMW

Original G March 18, 2019 at 12:19 PM

Was requested to show up for license renewal this go round and they urge you to make an “appointment”. Guess they wanted a PIC with all the grey hair. Managed to get an appointment that was FOUR MONTHS out. So in meantime driving on an expired license but was carrying appointment confirmation printout. Wonder if law enforcement is seeing people with expired licenses waiting on DMV? Was unable to complete several financial transactions because no current valid license.

Check in person at DMV was not knowledgeable to the point when finally got to the window had to fill out app on computer then go back to window. Person at the window was both knowledgeable, efficient and pleasant.

Only too a little under 55 minutes, WITH an appointment.

Video monitors announcing number being served are now showing advertising on them. Saw news article which said fund for running DMV and CHP is low on money. Have not seen any other information about it. Does anyone have more info ?

Fred March 18, 2019 at 12:20 PM

About 2 years ago when I moved back to California. Took 2 trips because I didn’t have all my paperwork. Including taking the test I probably spent a total of 1.5 hours there. Made an appointment both times so not a lot of waiting around.

Sign from Above March 18, 2019 at 12:25 PM

A month ago. Can’t stand that place. Even with an appointment made 2 months in advance I had to wait over an hour, only to be treated rudely by the clerk!

MisterC March 18, 2019 at 12:27 PM

I needed to renew my license and “upgrade” to Real-ID

I made an appointment, waited 2-3 months, arrived at 8:55am for a 9:00 appointment, left by 9:15am.

Sue St Germain March 18, 2019 at 12:43 PM

Last week to pick up driver handbook for my husband. They had booklets in several languages, but none in English. When I asked, I was directed to get in line. After 15 minute wait, a DMV employee showed up only to tell me he only had 2 left. He did not want to give me one but I was stubborn. Made the appt for the 200 miles out of bay area. Concord had no appts for the next 2 months. I am beyond disgusted with the non existent service.

Dawg March 18, 2019 at 12:51 PM

Oct. 2017, my license was about to expire and I had to take the written and eye test, which was good because I had cataract surgery six years ago and I no longer need glasses to drive, so they took that off my license. I also have a better picture on my license now. The written test was easy and I scored 100%. Setting up an appointment online is the only way to go, I set up appointments for all the nearby DMV’s, including Concord, Pittsburg and Walnut Creek and took the one that had the earliest date. I was in and out in less that 1/2 an hour.

Bedazzled March 18, 2019 at 1:04 PM

Only DMV we go to if we have to is Jackson one. No lines, pretty much all English as first language individuals there as well.
No way would I go to any Bay area in, that’s just stupid.

Mcar March 18, 2019 at 1:05 PM

do they make you take the written test for a renewal for real ID?

Bedazzled March 18, 2019 at 4:37 PM

Screw the real ID, just get a passport.

Highway Veteran March 18, 2019 at 6:23 PM

Last year I renewed my license and applied for a Real ID. I only took a vision test for the renewal. If you are only requesting a Real ID you do not have to take a test. Here’s the DMV website that explains what documents are needed for a Real ID:

Highway Veteran March 18, 2019 at 6:32 PM

Hello Mcar, Last year I renewed my license and applied for a Real ID. I took a vision test for the renewal. You do not have to take a written test for the Real ID. Make sure you have all the correct documents before you go into the DMV office.
Here’s the DMV website that explains what documents are needed for a Real ID:

Roz March 18, 2019 at 1:06 PM

If I remember the last time I and my Hubby has to visit DMV was 2009, had new photo(s) taken then too.
I will have to go in this year for the Real-ID, and my Hubby too in about 3 weeks. Fingers crossed Hubby will pass the eye test, since he has one fast growing cataract which isn’t quite ready. Hope to just go in super early without an appointment to DMV and be done in an hour.

Kiccck March 18, 2019 at 1:07 PM

I went about a month ago; had an appointment around noon. Showed up 10 minutes early, waited for 45 minutes, renewing registration took 3 minutes at counter.. done.

Not all that bad. The issue was: I shouldn’t have even had to go in, but they “forgot” to send me my registration renewal notice.. and there are no means for contacting them to “remind” them and renewing online wasn’t an option given my vehicles situation.

My time slot should have been someone else’s.. all the inefficiencies trickle down to waiting and waiting and waiting.

momto12 March 18, 2019 at 1:12 PM

1990 at the latest. I don’t remember how long I waited. I have been a resident of Alabama since 1991.

CoCoOld March 18, 2019 at 1:28 PM

Hubs and I had to go handle a wonky registration problem two weeks ago. Went to our local DMV (Plumas county) and, as usual, no wait. Also, really friendly and helpful clerks. Sierras rock!

Anon March 18, 2019 at 2:06 PM

Went to Concord DMV back in August. Had a Saturday appointment and was helped within 10 minutes of my scheduled time. It was a breeze!

BOB March 18, 2019 at 2:12 PM

Years ago. Use online renewal or AAA.

CalOldBlue March 18, 2019 at 2:45 PM

Saturday January 26th. Shopped around the various local DMVs earlier in the month and found a Saturday slot in Fairfield only about 3 weeks out. Arrived 30 minutes early, got my number, and out the door in about 45 minutes. License renewal with Real ID upgrade.

Catlady March 18, 2019 at 2:49 PM

I had to go in last year to take a new picture for my license renewal. I made an appointment and got my Real ID paperwork done while there. I was in and out in less than an hour in Walnut Creek during my lunch break.

Reality says March 18, 2019 at 2:52 PM

About 2 months ago.

Realized my license was going to expire due to a friendly reminder from my friends @ Hertz Car rental. Couldn’t get an appt in time so I had to walk in on Saturday. I was expecting the worse but start to finish, even with having to take the online test, I was out of there in 75 mins. I thought that was reasonable and I had no complaints with how I was treated or moved through the process. All agents were professional.

But, there is always a but…
1) I was there a month before this to get a RealID and I would have appreciated them letting me know my license was about to expire – I would have taken care of both things then. But ultimately that is on me to know when my license expires.

2) I like the functionality of the online test, very easy interface. However, I missed two questions, both because I didn’t know how much jail time would be served. I think that is a poor measure of driving knowledge, isn’t it more important to know the rules of the road so I don’t cause and accident and kill/injure someone vs. how much jail time is associated with an infraction?

In all, I’d give this last visit an A.

chuckie the troll March 18, 2019 at 3:46 PM

Last summer. My license was up for renewal. I wanted a Real ID so I tried to make an appointment. There were no appointments available until after my license expired. Took me 4 hours! Fortunately I read up on everything required to get it, and a really long book. Some people went through a long wait only to learn that they didn’t have enough proof. I guess a consular ID isn’t enough.

Ilovepopcorn March 18, 2019 at 4:03 PM

I believe because California is wealthy and there is corruption in all levels of government! That explains the dysfunction of DMV. It is a nightmare. The question I have is: this has been like this for years and is getting worse. There is no excuse for this.

Bob Foo March 18, 2019 at 6:19 PM

What’s your question?

wcmom March 18, 2019 at 4:10 PM

Back in Oct. Had to renew my DL. Had an appointment at WC. Did the online portion at home before my appt. In and out in prob less than 20 mins.

Boulders March 18, 2019 at 4:15 PM

Last Saturday. No appointment, about 3:15. Was done by 4:20, that included License renewal, Road questions test, picture and Print, payment. Was a very good experience, with very nice Customer service reps. Pleasantly surprised.

Doh March 18, 2019 at 4:44 PM

It was when I never received my car registration in the mail. I made an appointment for another day and had to wait 45 minutes.

Googlar March 18, 2019 at 5:19 PM

Me neither! Did you ever get it resolved? After getting the run-around and lied to on the phone the local DMV told me I could mail a letter to Sacramento so they would tell me to go F myself in writing.

Just waiting until next year not paying $20 for some stickers and to cover the state’s incompetence! >.<

Corinne Lashley March 18, 2019 at 5:08 PM

Hubby went a year ago to renew. at Concord DMV Had an appointment, it went real well.

I stupidly lost my drivers license about two weeks ago! I kept hoping it would turn up. The first appointment I could get was April 9th In Walnut Creek.. I put my passport and a copy of my DMV appointment in my wallet. Hoping I won’t need my license for any “transgressions” before then.

Googlar March 18, 2019 at 5:17 PM

Visited the other week in Walnut Creek. Everything was disorganized. Hanging signs indicated one thing, reality worked entirely different, the staff was unhelpful and offered no direction. I had an appointment and it took 40 minutes to be seen. An air of despair hang over the visitors and a passive aggressive apathy loomed over the workers. It is a cursed place that should be avoided at all costs.

Anonymous March 18, 2019 at 5:28 PM

Just went last week to get my Real ID. I went to the Pittsburg office, with an appointment. I had an excellent experience. I was in and out within 45 minutes. There had to be over 100 people waiting there, but they had about 13 windows open, and they were calling out numbers about once a minute. They had “helper” employees on the floor to answer questions, and the employee who helped me at my window was really nice.

ClayDen March 18, 2019 at 5:47 PM

My wife and I went about a month ago. We tried to get an appointment about 3 months prior to our licenses expiring, but nothing was available in Concord, Walnut Creek or Pittsburg. We got an appointment in San Jose and the whole process for Real ID, eye test and regular test took about an hour. We considered just using our passports, but decided it was easier to use our DL when flying domestically.

Gititogether March 18, 2019 at 6:24 PM

About a year ago. Waited about an hour I believe. How were my fellow waiters…and how was the attitude of the employees…low-lifish & crummy.

Atticus Thraxx March 18, 2019 at 7:06 PM

I think people get too worked up about the DMV. It’s the DMV, of course it’s unpleasant. It’s supposed to be unpleasant. Empty your bladder, get your paperwork right and suck it up.

The Fearless Spectator March 18, 2019 at 7:49 PM

Arrived at Walnut Creek branch when they opened and received real ID in 1.5 hours. It would have been faster however I observed a repeating phenomenon. Many folks arrive and attempt to look as bewildered and confused as possible as they walk past all the others in line right on up to the front. Then they waste as much of the staff’s time as possible before grudgingly getting in line, which is where they knew they should have been anyway. “This line can’t be meant for me, after all, I’m bewildered and confused”………..

Hanne Jeppesen March 18, 2019 at 8:27 PM

Someone broke into my car right before Christmas at the Stanford Shopping mall one of the items stolen was my driver’s license. I live in Concord, but work retail at Stanford in Palo Alto, thus my free time is limited. I have yet to go and get my new license. In mid January I drove down to LA to visit my daughter. I take 5, when I got to what is called the “Grapevine” it was closed due to a snowstorm. I decided to spend the night at a motel, instead of taking an alternative route in the dark. One motel would not rent me a room, because I did not have a drivers license, another one (Days Inn) did rent me a room after I showed them an expired temporary license. Anyway I really need to go and get a new license, although I live in Concord I always go to the Walnut Creek office, seems they don’t get as crowded. Setting an appointment don’t really work for me, since I only have my work schedule 3-4 weeks out, and I never know when I have a day off, it is not the same from week to week.

Mimi (original) March 19, 2019 at 9:31 AM

Are you saying that you can’t find a comparable retail job in the East Bay? And that you have to drive all the way to Palo Alto for work?? You must have some kind of TERRIFIC retail job!! All mine were interchangeable from one state, to one city, to another. You got lucky!

Kathy England March 18, 2019 at 10:40 PM

I’m going Wednesday to take an eye test and get a real ID. Wish me luck!! Hopefully, a lot of people will wait for another day when it’s not raining! The earliest appointment I could get is in Pittsburg on May 24th. Don’t think it’s wise to drive around with an expired license until then 🙂

Chet Robbins March 19, 2019 at 8:53 AM

Two weeks ago. I was originally there 5 weeks before to complete some business that went to Sacramento. Sacramento totally screwed up the work so I returned to Concord to get help with the problem. After the problem was explained to the staff they quickly contacted Sacramento and within 20 minutes the problem was solved. The staff at Concord was friendly, and effcient and took care of everything in a minimal amount of time, less than 30 minutes.

Hanne Jeppesen March 19, 2019 at 1:26 PM

To Mimi, l’m sure l can find a retail job closer by. I work at Macy’s and have certain benefits because l have been there a number of years, accrued vacation, 401k, with company match. Also minimum salary in Palo Alto is $15.00. And if we don’t like our schedule, we can go on the computer and change with a co worker, we can also try to give our shift away, this flexibility is hard to find in retail. When l started at Macy’s l lived in Redwood. City. I have requested transfer to Sun Valley and Walnut Creek several times, but so far nothing has come of it.

Pony March 19, 2019 at 5:37 PM

May 2016 for a DL renewal with picture. I made an appointment. Walked in to no wait. Went to the renewal counter to no wait. Had one person ahead of me for the picture. Total time in and out was 15 minutes

94519 March 19, 2019 at 10:34 PM

February 2018, Pittsburg. Walked in the door to hear, “our system is down”. Had clerk review my docs, system came up. Picture taken. Out the door in 15 minutes.

King6 March 20, 2019 at 6:07 AM

Hmmm, 4 hours I think, and to make matters worse it’s been a couple of months and I still haven’t gotten my new drivers license in the mail yet , and it’s like at this point I’ll just drive illegally lol Jk. I’m going back but they need to change the process because if there’s one thing DMV is good at it’s gridl 🙄👌🏻🙀🌪

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