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Long Lines, Chaos Persist At New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission; Officials Say More Online Services Will Relieve Backlog

NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) - If you need a new license in New Jersey, be prepared to wait.

Long lines persist, but state officials say they're working on it, CBS2's Nick Caloway reported. Still, drivers are desperate for answers.

The line at the Motor Vehicle Commission in Wayne, N.J. snaked through the parking lot Friday. Hundreds of people arrived before dawn, waiting hours and hours.

Some brought chairs. Some took naps.

"It's been about three months now from quarantine. So I was hoping things would be better. But this is something I definitely didn't expect," said Vanessa Casella, of Bloomfield.

It's an all too common problem at MVC locations across the state.

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Ever since the agency closed in March then reopened in July, hoards of backlogged customers have flooded the centers. Lines wrap around buildings as people sweat it out in the summer sun.

Caloway spoke with one man who said he arrived at the MVC in Wayne at 3 a.m., but didn't make it inside until it was nearly lunchtime.

Rosa Pastrana, who turns 71 next week, said Friday was the fifth time she's had to go the MVC. This time, she waited more than an hour before security told her she had to leave unless she had a ticket.

Pastrana compared it to being herded like cattle.

"We are senior citizens. We need to have more attention, please," Pastrana said. "Wherever you go, it's the same. I went to Paterson. It's the same. I went to Oakland. It's the same. So please tell me, what is the solution for this problem?"


Caloway took her question to MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton.

She told Caloway legislation signed by Gov. Phil Murphy this week, which extends the use of license photos to 12 years, should help people like Pastrana because she can now renew her license online.

"That's exactly what the governor signed. It's going to be tremendously helpful, because seniors don't have to wait in line to renew a license," said Fulton.

MVC officials said more services are available online than ever before, which is helping cut through the immense backlog.

But, long lines linger as customers wait all day, in some cases, for services that can only be conducted face-to-face.

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