Wait in Line Virtually with Ohio BMV's New Electronic Queuing Service

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
While you'll never get back time spent waiting in line at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), a new online check-in system could eliminate future losses.

On Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine introduced a pilot program that allows BMV customers to reserve their spots online, rather than braving in-person wait times.

The "Get in Line, Online" program, rolled out at 12 locations across the state, gives customers four hours to arrive at their chosen location, upon which they can check in using a self-service kiosk and claim their reserved spot.

"Right now, drivers can be subjected to significant wait times, which is inconvenient, inefficient, and frustrating," DeWine said in a press release. "We believe the introduction of this new technology will save drivers' valuable time and give the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and its deputy registrars better ability to provide exceptional customer service."

The program also allows drivers to look up the average wait times at nearby locations, saving them even more time. But here's the catch: unlike picking up an electronically-ordered Starbucks latte, online check-ins will be prevented from advancing higher than third in line upon arrival. This seems only fair, given that not everyone has access to an internet connection. (Walk-ins will, of course, still be allowed.)

BMV registrar Charles Norman told ABC 6 that users will receive text with a check in number upon signing up. "At that point, you're free to grab a cup of coffee with friends (and) take the kids to school," he said.

The pilot program is costing the Ohio Department of Public Safety $20,000. A statewide expansion would push that figure to $800,000, with lower annual costs.

The BMV will be monitoring the online application over the next couple months. Northeast Ohioans can test the service at the Bedford BMV, the closest pilot location. Check in online here.

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