Picture this: Cameras at every licensing service office counter

March 26, 2019
Tacoma licensing service office

The Tacoma licensing service office served as the model for 25 other locations getting cameras at every customer service touchpoint. This will allow customers to stay with the same representative and have their photo taken without moving to another area.

After a pilot program at the Tacoma licensing service office (LSO) proved successful, the Washington State Department of Licensing is rolling out workstation cameras at 25 of its other offices.

The changes are expected to improve service and efficiency by keeping customers with the same DOL representative, at the same counter, throughout a transaction. Traditionally, customers were directed to another area to have their photo taken before returning to the original counter.

Best of all? Cameras at each station will reduce wait times.

“I am excited to continue to enhance workflow and the customer experience at our LSOs,” said Jean Fetterly, DOL’s acting assistant director for Customer Relations.

Tacoma aside, offices getting cameras include:

  • Lynnwood
  • Seattle West
  • Seattle Downtown
  • Kent
  • Shoreline
  • Puyallup
  • Parkland
  • Federal Way
  • Bel-Red
  • Spokane
  • Spokane Valley
  • Renton
  • Lacey
  • Everett
  • Bremerton
  • Poulsbo
  • Smokey Point
  • Bellingham
  • Kennewick
  • Union Gap
  • Vancouver North
  • Vancouver East
  • Mount Vernon
  • Wenatchee
  • Kelso

All work is expected to be completed by June 2019.

To install the 300 new cameras, 23 of the 26 locations — among DOL’s busiest — need facility modifications. In most cases, these will happen on normal off days. Due to limited contractor availability, a few offices will temporarily close as follows:

  • Seattle West: Friday and Saturday, May 17-18
  • Smokey Point: Tuesday, June 18
  • Spokane: Friday, June 21
  • Spokane Valley: Tuesday, June 25

Find an alternative location, if needed.

Starting in August 2018, DOL began testing cameras at four workstations in Tacoma. The pilot was a success, resulting in shorter transaction times. As a result, in mid-March DOL expanded the pilot to include all 14 workstations in Tacoma.

Feedback from customers and staff alike has been positive.

“This is the biggest change affecting office workflow in a positive way during my 24 years with DOL,” said Jay Glenn, a licensing service representative supervisor in Tacoma.


Great tool for finding a driver licensing office near you

March 11, 2015
Click image to use the locator map.

Click image to use the locator map.

Looking for a driver licensing office near you?

An online “locator map” on the Department of Licensing’s website is the best source for information about driver licensing office locations.

Just click on any city appearing on the map, and you’ll be taken to DOL’s webpage featuring specific information about the driver licensing office in that city.

In addition to the address for each location, you’ll also find the days and hours each office is open.

Current wait times for each office are also found by using the locator map.

Just above the locator map, you’ll also find a drop-down menu featuring a complete list of driver licensing office locations.  Here, the cities are conveniently listed in alphabetical order.

When looking for the location of a driver licensing office, DOL highly recommends using the locator map; especially since search engines can produce inaccurate information.

 


DOL wait times plummet due to shift in testing locations, popularity of online and mail services

February 26, 2013
dol.wa.gov

dol.wa.gov

(Olympia) A new state program allowing the private sector to conduct driver knowledge and skills testing has produced more good news for visitors to DOL offices: the shortest wait times in nearly a decade.

The new program allows driver training schools and school district driver training programs across the state to conduct driver knowledge and skills testing for new driver license applicants.

Moving those testing services outside of DOL removed some of the most time-consuming transactions at the agency’s licensing service offices.

In recent months, the average statewide wait time at licensing service offices has remained steady at 10 minutes.

Driver licensing offices are currently maintaining the best wait times we’ve seen in eight years, despite an 11 percent increase in licensed drivers, and the closing and consolidation of several licensing offices over this time period.

Shorter wait times at those offices are also attributed to service innovations, including expanded online and mail-in options.

In 2012, nearly one-quarter of DOL’s 3.4 million driver transactions were done by people who didn’t step foot inside an office—by mail or Internet. In five years, that percentage has grown from 5 percent to 23 percent.

The drop-off in foot traffic at those offices provides employees with more time to inspect identity documents and for spending more time at the counter to better serve customers.  It also allows more time for community outreach

To conduct driver tests, driver training schools must be licensed with the state or be part of a state-certified public school driver training program. They have to apply for the authority to administer driver testing, and are subject to audits and record checks.

After passing the tests, customers go to a licensing office to obtain their license. Customers are still required to pay the driver license application fee to DOL. Driver training schools will set the fee they charge for the tests.

The program is the final phase of implementing House Bill 1635, which gives the Department authority to contract with private driver training schools, school districts and motorcycle training schools to conduct some knowledge and skills tests. The bill was passed in an effort to reduce wait times in licensing service offices.

For a list of state-approved driver training schools, go to:http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/testing.html.


Great news for summer driver licensing office customers

August 5, 2011

Summer is traditionally a very busy time in driver licensing offices, but customers across the state are enjoying average wait times of less than 30 minutes this season. Statewide average wait times are down sharply compared to last year and have been below 30 minutes for the past four months.Statewide average wait time chart

The average amount of time customers spent waiting for service in a driver licensing office in July was 28 minutes. This is a significantly lower than the average of 42 minutes in July last year.

While average wait times are way down across the state, some offices still have longer wait times than others. A great way to save time is to visit DOL’s Internet website and check the current wait time of the office you are planning to visit before you go. Also, keep in mind that many of DOL’s most common transactions, like driver license renewal and requesting a copy of your driving record, are offered online at the DOL website.

It’s also important to keep in mind that wait times can vary greatly depending on the day of the week and time of day customers choose to visit a driver licensing office. Watch the video below for tips on how to make your next visit a quick one.


High demand for new Enhanced Driver Licenses creating long waits in the Kennewick driver licensing office

June 22, 2009

KENNEWICK—Officials at the Kennewick Licensing Service Office (LSO) urge customers to come prepared when applying for the new Enhanced Driver License (EDL) or Identification Card.  Staff in this office are sending many people back home for additional documentation when applying for these new cards.

The new enhanced licenses and ID cards meet new federal travel requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which requires travelers crossing the U.S. border at a land or sea border crossing station to have a U.S. Passport or other WHTI compliant document. WHTI went into effect June 1, 2009.

“Summertime is always the busiest time of the year with people moving and teens getting permits and new licenses, but the additional rush of people applying for EDLs has made the Kennewick office unusually busy.” said DOL District Manager Pamela Byrd. “We’re helping everyone as quickly as possible, but they can also help themselves by making sure they have all of the documents they need before they come in.”

To apply for an EDL/ID, people must bring proof of… (Read more)