CHICAGO (CBS) -- People have complained about unbelievable long wait times at DMV facilities and the Illinois Secretary of State says he's doing something about it.
Jesse White is unveiling plans to address the problem due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One part includes a pilot program starting in September. The second part involves expanding remote renewal options.
"During the pandemic, my office has continued to serve the public, including face-to-face transactions, in a safe and responsible manner," said White. "Throughout this time, we also greatly expanded online services. This next step will allow many more people to renew their driver's licenses or ID cards remotely."
He added "my office is expanding the appointment program in September to include most Chicagoland facilities, so customers who must visit a facility can schedule an appointment. Certain designated facilities will still accommodate walk-in customers."
Starting in September, people will be required to make an appointment to visit the following three Chicago facilities:
*Chicago North, 5401 N. Elston Ave.
*Chicago South, 9901 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
*Chicago West, 5301 W. Lexington St.
Those facilities will be Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. beginning August 2.
The facilities at Lake Zurich, Melrose Park, Midlothian and Woodstock were serving as appointment facilities since early 2021. Those facilities (also operating Tuesday through Saturday) will continue requiring appointments.
Beginning the week of September 7, suburban DMV locations will also require appointments. They include Schaumburg, Bridgeview, Lombard, Des Plaines, Waukegan, Naperville, Aurora, Plano and Joliet.
Appointments will be also be required for people applying for or renewing REAL IDs, standard driver's licenses and ID cards and for behind-the-wheel road tests at these facilities.
All 16 facilities will have the same hours of operation: Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
White said seniors, persons with disabilities and expectant mothers will be served as walk-ins at all 16 of the designated appointment facilities.
Also for September, those needing DMV services can schedule an appointment online or by calling the appointment helpline at 844-817-4649.
The Secretary of State said it is partnering with the Chicago Lighthouse to provide these call center services.
Central and downstate Illinois DMV sites will start a customer scheduling system in the near future.
Even with the expansion of remote scheduling options, some Chicago-area sites will stay available for walk-in customers.
Those DMV sites include Deerfield, Elgin, Chicago Central (James R. Thompson Center) and the temporary facility at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights.
Starting in September and running through February 2022, the Secretary of State's office will expand remote renewal for driver's license and ID card holders.
During this time, the Illinois Secretary of State's Office will send letters to those with expired driver's licenses and ID cards. It'll require those customers to renew online, by phone or by mail.
The Secretary of State's Office estimates getting more people to renew online "will eliminate the need for approximately one million people to visit a facility."
Secretary of State White extended all driver's license and ID card expiration dates to Jan. 1, 2022. The extension doesn't apply to commercial driver's licenses (CDL) and CDL learner's permits.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the federal REAL ID deadline to May 3, 2023.
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