As Customers Screech, Malloy Proposes Privatization To Shorten Wait Times At DMV

There’s the old story about a stick-up man who pulls his gun on a street, points it at a guy and says, “Give me everything you got.” The guy looks at him and says, “Okay, here, but can I can keep my driver’s license? You know how the motor vehicle department is.” Governor Dan Malloy is trying to change attitudes about the Department of Motor Vehicles where it often seems they’re doing you a favor allowing you through the door. Following ear-splitting complaints during the year former State Senator Andres Ayala spent as commissioner, Malloy has installed another Bridgeport resident Dennis Murphy as the man behind the wheel in an acting capacity. Malloy is also proposing reforms that include privatization to streamline services to lessen wait times.

“We know that the way government does business in this new economic reality must change, that the customer–our neighbors and residents–must come first,” says Malloy. “Long wait times experienced by customers at the DMV is simply unacceptable, and that’s why we’re outlining commonsense proposals to lower them. This enhanced flexibility best serves the customer, allows private contractors to conduct most routine motor vehicle transactions, and most importantly, decreases wait times at the DMV. Connecticut state government needs to be flexible and find ways to improve customer service in a cost-effective manner, and with this series of proposals, we’re doing just that. The DMV is going through a massive shift that should have happened decades ago.”

The DMV was a mess long before Ayala took over. Ayala resigned after just a year on the job replaced on an acting basis by Murphy to try to steer the agency straight.

Malloy has submitted legislation that contains three main components.

First, it will allow the state to enter into contracts with private contractors, such as AAA, to provide vehicle registration services. Currently, AAA only provides non-commercial driver’s license services.

Second, the legislation will postpone the issuance of vessel titles until December 31, 2018. That step will free up more backroom staff resources to address the immediate issue of reducing wait times in branches, as well as limit additional traffic in the immediate future within DMV branch offices.

Finally, the legislation eliminates the ban on registering vehicles that have delinquent property taxes and parking tickets. Under current law, the DMV is prohibited from renewing a vehicle registration for an applicant and from registering any other motor vehicle, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle or vessel for the applicant if the department has not received notification from any city, town, borough, or taxing district of outstanding tax payments or delinquent parking tickets. This will address a substantial portion of the wait times by customers, many of which are attributable to multiple visits by those who are denied a registration until local taxes or parking tickets are paid. By removing this prohibition, it is expected that the number of customers having to make duplicative trips to branch offices will be minimized, and as such, contribute to reduced wait times and an enhanced customer experience.

The Governor’s legislation is House Bill 5055–An Act Decreasing Wait Times at the Department of Motor Vehicles. It is currently pending in the Transportation Committee.



  1. You have got to be f’n kidding me, right?
    Dan Malloy is saddling the urban centers with more unpaid taxes so he can claim he reduced wait time at DMV.
    Wait until these same patrons see their tax bills shooting up because the cities are not getting the revenue.
    Double-edged sword. All in the name of privatization.
    Question: When is Malloy going to be gone?
    Answer: Not soon enough.

    1. Bubba, as soon as I read that article I knew how you would feel. I agree with you, you know I always have; they always seem to take that route to solve problems they create.

    2. The entire procedure for withholding registration for non-payment of motor vehicle taxes and tickets has been an administrative nightmare for more than a decade. During much of that time DMV has sought to end the requirement.

      That said, collection of motor vehicle taxes–a major source of local revenue–and tickets is often difficult, especially in urban areas like Bridgeport. Loss of this enforcement mechanism will translate into a significant revenue loss which will have to be made up by the taxpayers.

      Dan Malloy’s solution is–as usual–to make it someone else’s problem.

      Get ready to pay up.

  2. Privatization of public services may be a winner in a variety of circumstances. And they are likely good moves where quality of service is improved and maintained, where public expenses are reduced and private companies provide potential added taxable subjects.

    That being said, one needs to be careful in comparisons. For instance as Bob Walsh previously stated, unpaid taxes and fees can be a significant problem in urban areas. The “teeth” behind the law is when you turn into a scofflaw with multiple unpaid tickets and/or property tax payments, you forfeit the right to register. Perhaps by using multiple incidents of some number, perhaps three or more, where you cannot register until payment, you can tone down scofflaw behavior. Perhaps those with one or two fees or tax payments missing, they can still register and stay registered for up to 90 days, beyond which, if funds are not remitted, the vehicle is unregistered once again.

    Without serious consequences, many in the public will not follow the law. Changing consequences that have teeth and replacing them with “gums only” as Malloy suggests does not appear to understand human nature. Time will tell.

  3. We have a Mr. Fix-It (and a local, to boot) at the head of DMV and a management vacuum that cries out for benchmarking. Lets not re-invent the wheel, especially at the DMV. I’d like to know what other states are doing best with our worst DMV problems, and craft a reform program that bets on earning the same results proven in other states. If we have a spark of creativity along the way, great! But if all we do is play copycat really well, we’d win.

    I discovered last year, people who’ve recently moved to Connecticut don’t just complain about visiting DMV; they complain about the number of hours they spent and the number of visits they made. Me? Four visits, I think. Total elapsed time? Maybe seven hours. What would have helped most? A website with practical and useful information on it. I was consistently tripped up by requirements that should have been noted in DMV’s shameful and unhelpful web site.

    Strangest news? My driver license number! Did you know your Nutmeg driver license number is yours for your lifetime? I received my license in Norwalk at age 16 in 1973. Two years later, in 1975, I forfeited my Connecticut license to gain a license in North Carolina. Forty years later, in 2015, I’m again getting a Connecticut license in Bridgeport. So get this: DMV actually looks up my license number from 1973-75 and reassigns the number to me! Which is more ridiculous? Keeping records from 1975 on the off-chance I’d really return home, or detaining a DMV staff person for the assignment of looking it up while other people wait for DMV?

    I am, literally for the life of me, CT DL#069278480. Pleased to meet ya! (Silver lining: Best license photo evah.)

      1. I guess Job #1 is to find states that most efficiently coordinate taxes and parking infractions with local governments. Problem thus defined, who does it best in public or private sectors? is their system adaptable to Connecticut?

  4. *** All this talk about registering people to vote at the DMV is a bit much too soon, no? Let’s get the DMV’s back ready and able to handle issues about motor vehicles, etc. first before adding more work and time to the process, with political concerns about registering new CT voters! Please, they can’t handle the workload they have now, never mind adding CT politics to the slow broken mix! *** WHOOP ***


Leave a Reply