For most people, going to a Department of Public Safety office means waiting in line – something that DPS megacenters were supposed to help alleviate.
“Eight hours is the longest,” she says. “But today I’ve heard from a reader that she waited nine and a half hours the last time she went to a mega center, it was the same one in Carrollton.”
The DPS megacenters were originally funded during the 2011 legislative session. Gross says $63 million was approved to build the first six and hire 266 employees. At the time DPS said the wait times would be cut to about 30 minutes or less. When Gross spoke to people in line on Friday, they were understandably upset.
“The main thing that people have complained about are the wait times,” she says. “And particularly here in Texas, the website isn’t user friendly to renew or do other services online through the DPS online portal. I think that if there was a better way to do these things online, people would have a quicker experience and maybe not come out and sit in these long lines and wait to be served in person.”
Even if the website was easy to understand, Internet access is also an issue for Texans.
“A lot of people that i talked to in line said that they don’t have the best wifi at home or they don’t have access to a computer,” Gross says. “And in order to get in line online, which they also say will save time to get into these megacenters, a lot of times you have to do it the morning of and those spots go pretty quick.”
Gross says that DPS has acknoledged the problems.
“DPS spokesman Lonny Haschel, who sent me a statement basically saying the agency is planning to discuss staffing and facility concerns with the state legislature this session, which begins in January. So they seem to be aware of these issues.”
Gross says that if someone needs to head to DPS soon, first try signing up via the website. If you didn’t renew your driver license or ID online previously, you can do so now. Otherwise, going to a megacenter in the middle of the week is best.
“Mondays and Fridays tend to be the busiest time. So if you have to go in person, they recommend you go in the middle of the week. But that being said, summer is the busy time in general over the course of the year,” she says.