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I-Team: Bumps In The Road For State's New Vehicle Inspection Program

BOSTON (CBS) - It was a frustrating day for some drivers trying to get new inspection stickers on their cars.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) launched a new statewide program, but inspection station owners are reporting a lot of bumps in the road. As a result, they had to turn customers away on Monday and lose the revenue.

"It's not fair for the customer and it's not for us, either," said Edwin Sola, a manager at Good Gas in Somerville.

Sola's new inspection system is still covered in bubble wrap. He had expected the vendor running the program to come in over the weekend to hook everything up, but he said the anticipated call never came.

Vehicle inspection
New vehicle inspection software (WBZ-TV)

"It seems very poorly planned. They should have started ahead of time and had more personnel to do it," Sola said.

At Mackenzie Motors in Brighton, the owner had turned away 20 customers by lunch time.

"It's frustrating. We're trying to make a living!" Ken Mackenzie told WBZ.

The inspection station owner said he attended training and spent about $8,000 to purchase all the required technology, including software, handheld cameras and facial recognition. The new program will eventually implement video monitoring in January in an effort to improve inspection quality and cut down on fraud.

However, Mackenzie also said he had expected the vendor awarded the state contract, Applus Technologies, to get his system online. Mackenzie said he even would have been willing to to come in on Sunday if necessary.

Mass inspection
Vehicle inspection station (WBZ-TV)

"I guess they are pretty much overloaded or backed up. We have haven't heard anything, so right now we are just wait and see," Mackenzie expressed.

The WBZ I-Team contacted 30 stations from around the Boston area. Twenty of those businesses reported having problems with the new system. The communities included: Cambridge, Westwood, Lexington, Watertown, Waltham, Billerica, Bedford, Framingham and Newburyport.

One business owner in Melrose lamented that he lost roughly $1,000 in inspection revenue.

After being turned away in Somerville, Lizette Figuerredo said she would continue hunting for a location where she could secure an inspection. The driver hoped she did not get a citation for an expired sticker along the way.

"I guess I will have to shop around. I am not happy at all," Figuerredo said.

When WBZ shared the details with the RMV, a spokeswoman insisted the transition was "running smoothly."

A press release sent out on Monday announced the system was "operational across the Commonwealth and all service stations which completed their obligations for installing the new equipment and participating in training are now conducting public vehicle inspections."

When asked about the problems being reported by station owners, an RMV spokeswoman urged them to "look through training materials or call the hotline." The RMV said Applus Technologies had a team of people available to answer calls and support stations.

Requirements for motor vehicles to pass the annual safety and emissions inspection have not changed. The cost will still be $35 to drivers.

"There are headaches with it," Mackenzie said. "I'm confident they'll take care of it, but it's probably going to take some time. It won't happen overnight."

Ryan Kath can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal reports

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