In any country, bureaucratic inefficiency is commonplace when it comes to dealing with the government. However, given the most recent experience with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the experience was like none other. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), is the American equivalent to the LTO (in New Jersey, it’s the Motor Vehicle Commission, or the MVC), and that department continues to receive similar flack in the United States when it comes to waiting times and red tape, but the headaches of dealing with the DMV would be more than welcome after seeing how the LTO operates.
Approaching the office, could not help but think of how ironic it was for a facility that is supposed to accommodate for individuals intent on operating a motor vehicle to be without convenient parking. Upon entering, though, was taken aback at just how shabby the conditions were –government vehicles were parked within the facility, overcrowding, portions of the ceiling were falling apart leaving holes. Looking past that, walking into the main waiting area, it was chaos. People were all over the place and, even with signs, the sheer volume of people made it impossible to navigate.
Probably the best part of the visit was meeting with the representative at the consumer desk, who provided clear instructions, explained the necessary documentation, and started the process off on an efficient note – that’s just about where it stops.
The waiting started for the next step of the process, having a photo taken. Given how many other people were waiting, was not expecting express service and was eventually called after several minutes. Then it was another wait for the cashier, which took even longer. Once those two steps were completed, had already spent around an hour sitting, walking, and standing around the same crowded space.
At that point, while waiting was annoying, just thought it was part of the process and was willing to let it go since there was only one step left. After another hour passed, checked with the attendant at the releasing desk who just brushed off any inquiries and said to wait. More time continued to pass and nobody had been called by releasing in a while and the said attendant seemed to be in a leisurely state.
Meanwhile, with countless people still waiting, saw employees leaving their post to stand outside and chat with their kids.
After about another hour, approached the releasing desk who said they only produce 100 licenses a day and they had already reached their quota.
When exactly did they intend on informing those waiting that there were no more licenses being issued? Wait until the end of the work day and inform those who wasted an entire day to come back tomorrow? If they only produce 100 licenses a day (which in itself is ridiculous), why is there no announcement for those waiting? It would be a basic courtesy to at least give people the opportunity to continue with their day rather than wait at the mercy of some government paper pusher.
Was provided an official receipt and told to come back at 7:00 a.m. the next day to pick up the license.
Despite the annoyance, thought it would be over, walk in, pick up the license, and move on.
Arriving early in the morning, there was already a line. Again, thought it was just volume and looked past it because it was only a matter of picking up a license. However, it was not so simple. Another photo needed to be taken and, after arriving around 7:00 a.m., did not leave with a driver’s license until well after 10:00 a.m.
In some aspect of the matter, could call it impressive. Personally, could never imagine an office could operate so backward with no regard for efficiency. Sure, the “driver’s test” and medical “examination” are a joke, perhaps that’s where they cut people slack. Make those segments of the process easy in preparation for the laborious process of waiting for government workers to sign pieces of paper.
In other countries, yes, it is also a tedious process, but (outside of administering a written test and a road test), the licensing process itself usually only takes about an hour or so – not two days.
Government offices can put out as many press releases as they want, touting what a great job they want the public to believe they are doing. But when a process that takes a couple hours elsewhere, takes two days locally, in facilities that are falling apart, the optics on the ground seem far off from statement being spewed by bureaucrats. Perhaps they believe the public is really that gullible, which in some cases is true, but, as a matter of respect, would like to believe the average city resident has enough sense to pick reality over embellishment./WDJ