Boise & Garden City

3-hour wait at DMV causes ‘internal screaming.’ ITD says latest problem fixed.

In 2017, Idaho DMV offices around the state experienced at least 34 outages lasting more than 25 minutes (this photo was taken in December). Slowdowns at Boise area DMV offices this week had some customers wondering if those issues were ever resolved.
In 2017, Idaho DMV offices around the state experienced at least 34 outages lasting more than 25 minutes (this photo was taken in December). Slowdowns at Boise area DMV offices this week had some customers wondering if those issues were ever resolved.

Few people who go to an Idaho DMV office expect to get in and out quickly.

Christina Navarro was under no illusions when she stopped in to renew her license on her lunch hour this week. She did not, however, expect to have to give her boss hourly updates on her progress.

“There was a lot of internal screaming,” recalled Navarro, whose driver’s license expired on Tuesday, her 33rd birthday. “I kind of anticipated it being grueling. The agent at the counter was like, ‘Well, you could come back tomorrow.’ I just had this vision where it was the same ordeal of leaving work for three hours.”

Three hours.

That’s about how long she was at the DMV office in Boise on Wednesday — even after she grabbed a lower-numbered ticket abandoned by someone ahead of her in line who had less time, less patience or both.

By the time she had her picture taken, she had the “face of disappointment,” she said. And not just because they don’t allow drivers to smile for photos anymore.

The Idaho Transportation Department was plagued with computer system outages in 2017, an ongoing headache largely attributed to outdated servers. There were at least 34 outages during the year that lasted 25 minutes or longer, ITD said in early December.

On Dec. 15, ITD sent out a release that heralded repairs made to the system.

“ITD, working with its card issuing vendor Gemalto, enhanced its servers and made adjustments to its databases to correct the process throttling seen in the last two weeks,” the release said. “These fixes have corrected the problem and processing speeds are faster than before the issues arose.”

Transportation Department spokeswoman Jennifer Gonzalez said the slowdowns that occurred in Boise-area offices Wednesday and Thursday were not related to the recurring problems last year.

“On Wednesday morning, a construction crew in the area cut the fiber line that was carrying our data,” Gonzalez said. “As of this morning [Friday], we learned that line is fully repaired. They were working on it all day yesterday. That’s why the slowdowns were occurring.”

A Statesman reader who took his son to get a driver’s license on Wednesday got stuck at the DMV.

“I arrived at 1 p.m. and left at 2 p.m. — and during that time it appeared the outage happened two times and was inoperable when we left at 2 p.m. without completing what we came there to do,” he wrote in an email. “With these ongoing issues, I am thinking maybe the state needs to be asking some more experienced experts for their opinions on this?”

In a message to customers on Twitter on Friday afternoon, Canyon County said licensing offices there were still experiencing computer problems. Just after 3:30 p.m., they warned people not to come to the DMV offices.

“Neither the driver’s license or auto licensing offices will be accepting any new customers today as wait times already exceed 70+ minutes,” the message read.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller

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