AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Public Safety officially told lawmakers that getting those excruciating wait times down will take millions of tax dollars and hundreds of more people.
In its official funding request to the legislature, DPS is asking for $420 million more to improve driver’s license centers. That would go toward hiring 854 full-time employees, paying staff more and increasing the starting salary from $26,000 to $35,000.
DPS also wants to open 15 new offices in the fastest growing areas of the state, including one in the south Austin-San Marcos area.
Waiting for hours
It was another long wait in the lobby of the driver’s license office along North Lamar Boulevard. Texas has done one thing — managed expectations. People come ready to wait for hours.
“I’ve had to wait four hours before,” said Sebrena Boyd, who only came to change her name. “We fell asleep. Yeah, it was that long.”
Chang-Sik Choi said, “I’m from Korea. It’s much faster there.”
He had been waiting for 2-and-a-half hours. He says that’s actually faster than he’s used to at this location.
“There are not many employees there. They need to hire more because there are lots of people here, spending lots of time and basically wasting their time,” said Choi.
The next step, which will be the toughest, is convincing conservative Texas lawmakers to use more of your tax dollars on driver’s license offices.
Over the past decades, Republican lawmakers have kept government services low while keeping taxes low to attract people and business.
Texans get to pick their lawmakers in the Nov. 6 election.
What you can do
According to DPS spokespeople, most customers who come into the DL offices don’t have to. Many things can be done online by phone or by mail. This will shorten lines for everyone.
You can also get in line online and save time at the driver licenses office.