Hoosiers will longer be able to renew their license plates at their local license branches beginning Monday.
All Indiana residents now have to order their registration cards, stickers and plates online or by mail, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles said. That's because the agency is switching to a centralized distribution system.
Customers can renew their registrations online at myBMV.com, by phone at 888-692-6841 or by mail using a new postage-paid envelope enclosed with the annual reminder sent out by the BMV.
The agency said millions of customers have used those methods to renew their registrations since 2008, though it did not say what percentage of customers still visited a license branch to renew their plates.
"It's a win-win situation, we believe, in terms of customer service," agency spokesman Dennis Rosebrough told Indianapolis television station WTHR.
He said the centralized distribution will make it easier for officials to validate driver records and identification.
"We think the centralization process will help with accuracy of information, which is very important, of course, as well as the whole security issue," Rosebrough told station WRTV.
The BMV said registrations, stickers and plates will be mailed out to customers within 14 business days.
The agency also said in its announcement that it was eliminating dozens of self-service kiosks at license branches across the state. Rosebrough told WRTV that the kiosks were little used.
BMV Commissioner R. Scott Waddell said in a release that centralized distribution would save the state money by eliminating plate inventory at branches across the state. Plates will be made to order, the BMV said.
"Unless a registration renewal is unusually complex, there's no need for customers to visit a license branch," Waddell said. "Centralized distribution is more effective and will virtually eliminate inventory costs since plates are not produced until they are needed."
Waddell said customers with complicated registration issues still can receive help from staff at their local license branch. He said the change will allow staff to focus on more complex transactions such as driver's licenses and vehicle titles.
"We are constantly looking for ways to improve customer service while conserving taxpayer dollars," Waddell said.