EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – After closing their branches across Indiana for nearly 3 months, the BMV reopened its doors today.
It was marked with some very long lines of people waiting to renew their drivers licenses or register new cars.
They arrived by car or motorcycle, most of them waiting on foot.
“Could be easier. Could be worse. Line could be a lot longer,” said Cory Brown of Evansville. There were a few sitting their wait out.
“Well, I’ve already driven by twice today and noticed there was quite a line. So, when I came back the third time I decided I better bring a chair,” said Marjorie Teruel, who was waiting outside one BMV branch earlier Tuesday.
Many waited several hours after a three month wait.
“Three hours,” recalled Isaac Birch of Princeton. “Three hours waiting outside for most of the time with my two young children. It took quite a while.”
This was the first day many drivers could renew licenses, plates or register new vehicles in person since branches closed on March 23rd. Inside, chairs were spaced out and workers wore masks and encouraged customers to do the same.
“I’m just glad that I could get in without an appointment,” said Brown.
“I think the Princeton branch is small and because of all the regulations and restrictions, they can’t bring many people in,” Birch added.
BMV Commissioner Peter Lacy says they restarted in person service due to high demand for online appointments.
“We just could not create enough supply of appointments so that people were not booking out 2 to 3 weeks in advance, and we’re able to help many more customers in walk-in environment than when we were in an appointment-only environment,” he said.
Lacy also said the BMV expected high demand at branches the next several days. Penalties for expired licenses or permits won’t restart until July 1st when Gov. Holcomb’s executive order expires.
People are encouraged to use the BMV’s online services when possible, but those choosing to use the walk in service should expect long lines and many should expect to wait outside. Commissoiner Lacy is encouraging people to bring things like lawn chairs and water.
(This story was originally published on June 16, 2020)