Indiana BMV keeps license bureau wait times offline for now

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The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has stopped providing an online service that allowed customers to know a license branch’s wait time before arriving because the state agency found the posted times were often inaccurate.

The BMV said it initially halted the wait time service in spring 2020 because of changes made to branch operations in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Journal Gazette reported.

The decision to not resume the posting of wait times comes as the agency is still looking to fill staff vacancies that contributed to numerous temporary branch closures around the state during September and October.

“We are operating all branches with an average of less than 20-minute wait,” BMV spokeswoman Susan Guyer said. “We still have openings and are working with our leadership and state personnel to recruit and fill those positions.”

Guyer said that when considering whether to resume posting branch wait times online, the agency found that the times shown online were not accurate when compared to actual wait times. So instead of relaunching the tool, the BMV is incorporating an upgrade as part of a future website enhancement.

Guyer said that even before COVID-19 precautions were implemented, the actual wait times varied slightly.

“But when we reduced our seating capacity and had customers waiting outside during COVID, we saw notable discrepancy in displayed versus actual,” she said. “We believe the tool is valuable to customers. We are working with our team to identify the best way to pull the most accurate times out of our system and translate them to an online tool.”

As for staffing, Guyer said the agency has received an increase in applications and has filled some positions.

The BMV reopened all its branch offices this month after temporarily shutting down 11 branches in September and eight in October because of a staffing shortage. During those two months, employees of temporarily closed branches were reassigned to nearby locations.

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