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Connecticut DMV to Revamp Website, Expand Online Services

The Connecticut DMV already launched a streamlined appointment system to manage the effects of the pandemic, but now officials have designs on completely overhauling the agency’s customer-facing website.

(TNS) — Standing outside the Department of Motor Vehicles, Deputy Commissioner Tony Guerrera spread his arms, indicating the empty sidewalk outside the office.

"Take a quick second and take a look at this. The day after Memorial Day three years ago, the commissioner and I were in that office, staring at a line of people down to the parking lot. That has not happened today," Guerrera said Tuesday afternoon.

"We have a governor that gave us the resources and the tools to make sure the quality of life for every Connecticut resident or people that want to come into our state as easy as possible."

Guerrera, along with Gov. Ned Lamont, DMV Commissioner Sibongile "Bongi" Magubane and state Sen. Will Haskell, chair of the legislature's Transportation Committee, discussed ways that the DMV has streamlined its services and the changes it will make in the future.

When businesses and state agencies were forced to shut down in-person services at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DMV, like other state departments, had to improvise, Guerrera said.

"The governor put all the forces out there to make sure we did what we had to do. The DMV didn't shut its doors, we made sure we made our employees safe, our customers safe," he said. "We had to get people out of line, but make sure that we get them an appointment system and that's what we did. That appointment system is going to stay with us today, tomorrow and for the future of the DMV."

The appointment system allowed nearly 750,000 Connecticut residents since January 2021 to conduct transactions onlnie with the DMV, Magubane said.

Alongside the online appointment system, the DMV is conducting a total restructuring of its website, she said.

"When citizens of Connecticut came to the DMV, it was really luck of the draw if they were able to get through with their transactions because they were not always clear on what they needed to bring in order to be successful," Magubane said.

"We are looking at overhauling our website because the website is key to ensuring that everyone understands what to expect when they arrive at the DMV, how long it's going to take and also what they need to complete their transaction."

The appointment system will also receive an upgrade, Magubane said. Previously, a separate appointment was made for each transaction someone was looking to complete at the DMV, a system that will be modified to allow multiple transactions at a time.

"In the past, most of our transactions were done in person and then we introduced an appointment systems, but it's not integrated," Magubane said. "In the future, when you want to establish an appointment at the DMV, you will be able to look at multiple transactions. You will know exactly how long it's going to take in today's world you can only do one transaction and if you have another appointment, you come back.

"In the future you'll be able to stack up your transactions, come in one and done and we will know what you're coming to do," she said.

When he took office, Haskell said that many of the first emails he received from constituents were about the DMV, with complaints about the inability to schedule an appointment or about the DMV's confusing requirements.

With the improvements to the DMV's website, appointment platform and ability to conduct some tasks online, such as license renewal, Haskell, D- Westport, said he no longer receives emails about the DMV.

"The processes were too cumbersome, and they required taking time out of their day. They required single, working parents, in between showing up to their job, getting kids to school and cooking dinner, it required them to also find an hour or two or three to go to their local DMV branch to try and complete those transactions," he said.

"In the pandemic, if there's a silver lining, it's accelerated the progress this agency was making," Haskell said.

The technological improvements made at the DMV will be mirrored at the Department of Labor come July 5, when unemployment compensation claims will be moved to an online system as well, Lamont said.

"It was very manual, very labor-intensive, very people-intensive. We weren't able to keep up with the load of unemployment claims the likes of which we hadn't seen since the Great Depression," he said. "Now we will be much better able to do that. Much of that is done electronically."

©2022 The Hour, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.