WEST HAVEN - In response to AAA ceasing their Department of Motor Vehicles services at eight offices, effective in 2016, establishing alternative locations has been critical to the DMV.
And, a DMV Express center, which opened last March, inside West Haven City Hall, is doing so well, they are now expanding their days and hours of service.
For their first 6 months, the West Haven DMV office, in the basement of City Hall, had only been open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 9:00 to 3:30. But, effective today, this office will now be open Thursdays, until 5:30, and Fridays, until 3:30.
"We do license renewals, ID renewals, change of names. We don’t do anything with plates or titles or that stuff," said Alan Olenick, the President of the West Haven Chamber of Commerce, which also operates the West Haven DMV center.
Since opening in March, more than 5,000 customers have used the West Haven DMV Express Center.
"I used it this morning," said Mayor Nancy Rossi (D-West Haven), who renewed her drivers license. "I was in and out in no time. I waited in line like everybody else."
"Usually, when you go to the DMV, you get these knots in your stomach," said Steve Sullivan of East Haven. "You have butterflies because you’re saying this is going to be a wasted day."
Not in West Haven, though.
"We average about 10 minutes per transaction," noted Olenick.
For using this far less crowded center, customers will pay an $8 convenience fee.
"I am definitely good with that," said Demetrius Barnes of West Haven. "$8 is not bad at all to save four, five hours in the DMV. That’s great."
Olenick says roughly 25% of the West Haven center's customers are from West Haven. The rest come from an approximate radius of 15 mile radius.
"Five minutes and I’m done," said an excited Joyce Sullivan of East Haven. "It was wonderful. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It made my day!"
Milford features a similar express center, at the Milford Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union. Others are expected to further fill the void left by the AAA bowing out of DMV services in New Haven and Fairfield Counties in 2016.
"Workforce Alliance is supposedly opening in Stamford later this year," said Olenick. "And I think Nutmeg is going to open another office in the North Haven area."
For information on the exact services the West Haven DMV Express Center handles, click here.