DMV striving for improvement despite another change in leadership

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The administrator of the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles announced plans to leave his position, meaning his replacement will be the fifth person to hold that job in less than four years.

Anthony Silva said Tuesday he’s leaving the embattled agency to work as chief of staff for Lt. Gov.-elect Daniel McKee. He said there’s still a lot of work left to be done to improve the DMV, but he’s confident in the steps he’s put in place. According to him, the seven-hour wait times that were seen four years ago have been greatly reduced.

“If it exceeds an hour and a half, it’s all hands on deck in this place to get it lower,” he said.

Silva said a three-pronged approach has been implemented to work on reducing wait times even further. The first is to put six kiosks at the DMV in the spring of 2015.

“It’s just like the airport – self service. Do your license, do you registration on that kiosk and never have to come upstairs,” he explained.

The second part is to bring in part-time employees during peak hours, and lastly – implement an appointment system.

“Put it together, I predict we are going to see wait times drop below 30 minutes,” Silva added.

The $1.50 technology fee customers pay at the DMV is part of an approximately $15 million project to upgrade the 40-year-old computer systems, something Silva says is a monumental task. He said the agency has a target date of September 2016.

“We are very confident at this point in time that we will meet that target date,” said Silva.

Silva said the biggest challenge by far has been replacing nearly 1 million license plates.

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