End of the line

  • Caleb Loehrer / The Garden Island

    Residents wait in line at the county’s Motor Vehicle Registration office Friday. The county is piloting a take-a-number system to make vehicle registration transactions more efficient and comfortable for patrons. The MVR office has also set up an express lane for simpler transactions.

LIHUE — Jesse Gomez was waiting in line at the Motor Vehicle Registration office Friday afternoon to register a vehicle he brought over from Oahu.

He had pulled number E27.

“DMV is DMV. Even if we’re in a chair, we still have to wait,” Gomez said.

Then, laughing, he admitted that if given the choice, “I’d rather sit.”

Kauai residents no longer have to stand in line to register their cars. The Motor Vehicle Registration office recently installed a new take-a-number system.

After spending his first day in office at the MVR last month, Mayor Derek Kawakami decided to do something about the notorious long lines that have aggravated many over the years.

The MVR office in Lihue is trying out the pilot program aimed at making vehicle registration transactions more efficient and comfortable for patrons.

“The County of Kauai is in the people business, and we are working diligently and actively to ensure customers have a pleasant experience,” Kawakami said in a press release.

Eight days into the trial, feedback on the new system so far seems to be mostly positive, if somewhat ambivalent.

Customer number E31 was a woman named Tracy. Friday was her first experience with the MVR’s new system, but friends had already told her good things.

“I heard it was so much better,” she said. “It’s nice not seeing a line here, let’s put it like that.”

She checked her ticket as an MVR clerk called number 25 and said, “It seems more relaxed, yeah?”

Guillermo Guzman, a recent transplant from San Francisco, held ticket number E34 and gave a slightly less positive review.

“Sucks,” he said when asked what he thought of the take-a-number system. “They just kept calling numbers that nobody had.”

Friday was Guzman’s second time in the MVR since the office started using the new system earlier this week, and he said the wait seems longer now than it had in the past. Still, he said, “It’s way better here than anywhere on the mainland.”

In a statement Friday, County Treasurer David Schwartz described the public response’s as “generally positive,” and said if the county continues to receive good feedback, it will make the take-a-number system a permanent fixture in the MVR.

Instead of standing in line, patrons may now take a ticket with a number which lets them know the order in which they will be served. Customers are welcome to take a seat in the lobby, and MVR tellers will call out numbers as they become available.

The express lane is for single transactions only, and is intended to help customers quickly. Customers with qualifying transactions need not take a number, and can proceed directly to the express lane.


Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cloehrer@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Charlie Chimknee January 19, 2019 5:52 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    *****5 Stars to Mayor Derek. The ticket number and chairs is fantastic and so is the Express Lane.

    The San Francisco DMV YOU WAIT IN LINES that stretch into the parking lot, and almost always you have to make several trips.

    I’m confident Derek can improve the traffic lines too. Maybe Traffic Controllers directing 100 vehicle CAR TRAINS…!


  2. MisterM January 19, 2019 7:30 am Reply

    Ah, island time coupled with government ‘workers’. Little wonder it took them 20 years to follow just about every other DMV office in the country. Betcha it took years of meetings and several boondoggle junkets to ‘study’ the obvious…

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