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Opening Arguments

BMV success story?

A friend who is no particular fan of the BMV wanted to make sure I passed along her experience. She went in to the New Haven branch to renew her driver's license on Friday. That involves taking the eye test, having a new photo taken, waiting behind whoever got there ahead of you. But she got in and out in under 10 minutes. She hasn't been that impressed by anything "Jaws" (being a bit of a shark fan). I wondered if that was a common experience these days, so I did an online search and found this editorial in the Gary paper:

Although it got off to an incredibly shaky start, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles operation has turned into one of the real success stories of the administration of Gov. Mitch Daniels.

A milestone of sorts was reached last week in Lake County when Napleton Auto Werks of Indiana, in Schererville, became the 100th dealership in the state to offer BMV services on-site.

Bad BMV news was a newspaper and TV staple there for awhile, and one of the reasons everybody knew that Mitch Daniels would be a one-term governor. But the administration always said that the changes it was instituting, as painful as they seemed in the short term, would result in much better service in the long term. Has that, in fact, happened -- is my friend's experience not unique? That would be one of underreported stories of the past year. My license is up for renewal in September, and 10 minutes or less would certainly be a welcome experience.


Bob G.
Mon, 03/03/2008 - 3:59pm

Leo, I've never had to spend more than 20-30 minutes at the BMV (here) since I moved to Fort Wayne in 1997. Must have been all the PREPAREDNESS I took with me.
Then again, if you're from Philly, you learn REAL fast to have all your crap in order ahead of time.



Mon, 03/03/2008 - 7:34pm

When I returned to Fort Wayne in 1994, was appalled by the state's backward ways in processing titles and licenses.

I came from Wisconsin where the only reason to visit the DOT License office was to register private sales of vehicles, obtain a drivers license/license renewal, or register first time in the state. All other transactions were handled by the auto dealers and WIDOT Madison ...and mail was the only way to get a new plate.

Fourteen years later, Indiana is enlisting auto dealers!

A J Bogle
Tue, 03/04/2008 - 7:42am

One anecdote of a quick service does not absolve Daniels from the BMV scandal. I used to be able to be in and out of the BMV in 10 mins when the Ossian Branch was still open. Last year when I renewed my DL, it was 50 mins. The trick is they don't start the clock until you check in. the 20 mins you stand in line to check in is not counted. The last two years despite sending in my plate renewals a MONTH ahead of the due date, they did not arrive right away, One was a week AFTER my plate expired, the other the very last day. SO they tell everyone to go online, except the online service was frequently down. Then they said that the website was having problems, got the license bureau!!! what a Keystone cop operation. This year I did the online deal to save the 5 bucks, which is cool I'll give credit for that, but again despite being almost a month ahead of time, still did not get my plates till the last day. The site says allow 2-3 days for processing. Nope the BMV issues are far from fixed, and Daniels needs to be held accountable. As gadfly says, other states know how to get it right, and cost less too!

tim zank
Thu, 03/06/2008 - 3:20pm

Ok, so the BMV sucked for the last 30 years. In the last year, overall gains have been made and they appear to be improving customer service rapidly. Damn that Mitch Daniels anyway, it's all his fault.

Scandal.....yeah right. Heh.

A J Bogle
Thu, 03/06/2008 - 6:39pm

What overall gains? still late with plates, takes LONGER because they closed branches. Daniel's crony, Silverman had to resign in disgrace. If removing the clocks from the waiting room is you idea of "improved" service Tim - man o man.

It was and is a scandal

Wed, 08/13/2008 - 9:01pm

I did my plates online. Maybe we should cut more branches like Ossian and tax less money from people. Seriously, are more branches with crappy service the answer? Move the BMV stuff to dealerships where there is a profit motive at least to handle it quickly. I'm not even a Republican and I know I spend less time or no time at the BMV now, pay a smalller property tax bill, and public schools are back in black. There is plenty of scandal in fort wayne, I don't think the BMV is it. What would happen if we privatized the BMV and let branches compete with each other for customers. That would never work! I'm sure if the government had a monopoly on cell phones we would have the iPhone today right?

tim zank
Thu, 08/14/2008 - 4:25pm

Perhaps I have an unusually efficient and friendly BMV in Angola. I also use the online features and have never had a delay or descrepancy. I'm always greeted promptly and service is fast....10 to 20 minutes tops...I'd call it a success all around!!