HELENA - It is one of those things none of us look forward to — renewing your driver's license.
Nowadays you almost certainly should make an appointment, but it can take months to get one.
MTN News checked around and found that in Helena, the earliest appointment isn't until mid-January. You could get in slightly earlier in Townsend, for example, but Bozeman and Missoula are booked until the end of January or even into February.
Motor Vehicle Division appointments can be scheduled online and a newly-launched system aims to help both improve the process for making appointments, and having you remember them.
MVD has received a bit of an update to its online scheduling system.
“And the new technology, the new scheduling system, is quick, easy, convenient, makes the process much quicker,” said MVD Administrator Laurie Bakri.
The new system includes appointment scheduling options, automated appointment reminders, and online check-in. It also eliminates passwords and logins for changing appointments.
These online improvements aim to improve the experience at the MVD and work toward clearing the backlog of appointments.
“Me personally, I think it offers a great benefit. Obviously, technology is evolving each and every day. I'm not saying that every single person has to keep up with it. I'm saying that there's more opportunities that benefit the customer,” said MVD office manager Cesar Gonzales.
Since the implementation of this new online system on Oct. 11, they’ve already seen a change. 0MVD says that calls to the MVD call center have been reduced by 30% while no-shows have decreased to less than 10% from an average rate of 30%.
Currently, the MVD has a significant backlog of appointments. For example, as of Oct. 25, the first available appointment in Helena isn’t until mid-January. Meanwhile, the first appointment in Missoula isn't available until Feb. 10.
Bakri says that the MVD wants to implement another change in order to increase productivity and work at taking care of that backlog.
“The company that helped us with the scheduling also has a drivers system that works very, very well in 18 other states. And we're proposing that we implement that driving system into the appointment itself. Make that process much cleaner, faster, no errors, so that we could take more appointments in a day,” Bakri said.