Sunday, October 11, 2020

A nightmarish trip to New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles

 The pandemic has screwed the world as we know it with no end in sight. The NJDVM got closed in March 2020 and started opening on July 7, 2020. The people whose licenses were expiring uptil August 2020 had their extended till December 2020. I was not one of the lucky ones out of them. Mine was expiring in September 2020 so I had to get it renewed this month. I have read on line the nightmarish lines at the DMV since people were sharing their experiences online with text and pictures, so I decided to follow their advice and woke up at 4.30 am on  a Saturday Morning and drove to the nearest DMV around 6.45 am and as expected there was a long line and I guessed it that people have been here camping since late night as people had their chairs with them and some were eating too. I sat in the car for a while and then decided to join the line (which was the best timing which I will tell you later). I heard some people were saying that other nearby DMV’s were more nightmarish then the one I was standing in.

I just started to pray that my turn comes today cause it would be maddening that after waking up and standing in line for hours and one’s turn does not come up. Anyway around 8.00 am, the start of the opening of the office, two people came to provide some stuff to the people standing ahead. I didn’t know at that time that it was a ticket. They are also eliminating people who were mistakenly standing in line for a things that were not available at that particular agency (which I did not know until I saw it when approaching it at the entrance. Anyway the line started to move and when the two people came close up they eliminated two people ahead of me and gave me a ticket which happened to the last one, the people standing behind me had to be told that no more tickets are available and come another time. Still some of the people who came after me thought that it was just crazy that they stopped giving tickets at 9.20 am when the office would remain open till 3.00 PM. After this the line starting moving excruciatingly slow as I could not see what was happening. Some people were saying that they are allowing only limited number of people at a time. So my timing and also a great luck got my last ticket. One of the guys from the agency said that even if I have a ticket which was green one, I was not guaranteed that my turn will come. In case it did not come, I will given a white ticket, so the next time I will not have to wait in line and go straight to the office.

There was only one restroom available and I dreaded to go in there with no facility for washing hands like the one you see outside construction areas. Standing in the sunlight was a torture but lucky enough it had a nice cool breeze. But the standing or sitting part was a nightmare as there was no tent available to give people shade from the heat. As my turn approached, I found out why they were so slow, due to COVID-19 there was restriction of only 20 to be inside and only 4 to five people were allowed inside. Also there was no registration, title or number plates available at the agency only issuances and renewal of driving licenses. Since face masks are almost mandatory to enter any facility and people are universally following face mask protocols, it was much easier to keep it one since the heat was not that oppressive as compared to the summer months of June, July and August. I was the last one in and had my RealID done past the closing time and finally I did not have to show up for four years and hopefully, life will somewhat return to normal and we would not have issues or worries about the Virus. So a nightmarish (or daymarish and hellish day came to a conclusion successfully and I got my license finally.

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