Texas Watchdog doubted the use of megacenters to make driver's license renewals faster, and now even Texas Department of Public Safety leaders have doubts, according to KXAS in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Wait times of multiple hours and long lines out the door are routine in Texas, especially in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.
However, Texas Department of Public Safety leaders expect greater speed and efficiency when they open “megacenters” for license renewals by early 2013. The state will spend $63 million for more employees and better technology in the new buildings in those four metro areas.
The DPS business analysis concludes that it "will likely improve driver's license division services" in the Metroplex, according to KXAS. Officials predict customer traffic will shift from existing offices to the two new and larger megacenters in Garland or Fort Worth, but they don’t know for sure that will happen.
State officials think residents of Plano will travel 50 minutes to a brand new megacenter in Fort Worth.
The alternative would be to sit in line at one of eight current facilities that have longer wait times now than they did a year ago.
The Plano office reported a decrease in wait times in 2012, to about one hour from about 70 minutes. However, it was still one of several in Dallas-Fort Worth with a wait time of at least one hour.
Meanwhile, the Metroplex’s population may increase another 650,000 people in five years, KXAS reported.
All four metro areas are among the nation’s fastest-growing cities, as Forbes has reported.
Once the facilities open the pressure will be on to quickly perform as promised or Texans may turn their impatience on public officials who struggle to fix it.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story referred to the state Department of Motor Vehicles operating the driver's license centers, rather than the state Department of Public Safety.
Contact Curt Olson at email@example.com or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.
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Photo of people waiting at license center by flickr user Wyscan, used via a Creative Commons license.