Culver City Observer -

It's A Waiting Game At Culver DMV


March 19, 2015

Ron Peterson

Lines have grown and waits have become unbearable at the Culver City DMV since the state allowed illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses. Office hours were not extended at the Culver City office nor were Saturday hours offered.

By Lynne Bronstein

Observer Reporter

Culver City's Department of Motor Vehicles is having a problem that many DMVs around Southern California are also having-exceptionally long lines and slow service.

Since January 2, 2015, when the new law took effect that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses, the volume of applicants has increased considerably. The DMV expects nearly 1.5 million undocumented immigrants to apply over the next few years.

During the first three days after the new law took effect, California DMV officials processed 46,200 applications. Of the 17,900 who applied on the first day, 54 percent passed the English written test and 36 percent passed the Spanish-language test.

Long waits for appointments and long waits on line at DMV offices have been reported in Orange County, Indio, and other areas around Southern California.

The wait time for customers to be processed at Culver City's DMV headquarters is officially listed on the DMV web site as 0.00 with an appointment and .22 (22 minutes) without an appointment.

Applicants and those wanting to renew licenses and I.D. who call the Culver City DMV 800 number (800-777-0133) often receive a recording telling them that "due to the high volume of calls, we are unable to answer your call in a timely manner" and that they should "try again at a later time."

The wait time to speak to a DMV representative over the phone is at least a half hour. Customers who want to schedule driving tests have to speak to a DMV rep to make the test appointment.

(This reporter called the Culver City DMV on the morning of March 4 and chose the menu option of speaking to DMV rep. Hold time was supposed to be 21 minutes. After over a half hour of holding to the tune of monotonous pseudo-fusion music, this reporter hung up.)

However, there are alternatives for the frustrated customer.

Artemio Armenta, Public Information Officer for the California DMV, told the Observer that "there are many transactions that a customer can do online or outside the DMV." These include:

Registration Renewal: Californians do not need to visit the DMV to renew registration because they can renew by mail, online, by phone, using a Self-Service Terminal, or visiting a DMV Business Partner or Auto Club.

Address Change: Californians do not need to visit the DMV to report a change of address because customers can easily change their address online at

Reporting a Vehicle Sale: Customers do not need to visit the DMV to report a vehicle sale because the forms for completing a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability can be completed online at

Driver or Vehicle Record Request: Customers do not need to visit the DMV to get a driver or vehicle record because those records can be ordered online at

Most Driver License Renewals: Most customers will not need to visit a DMV to renew a driver license because a new photo is only required every 15 years. Check the DMV notice carefully because most of the time customers will be able to quickly renew a driver license online, by mail, or by calling 1-800-777-0133.

Statewide, the DMV has not only added employees but has extended office hours at many locations, including some DMV offices being open on Saturdays., Unfortunately, Culver City's DMV is not one of the offices that has extended hours or is open on Saturdays.

Armenta noted that the nearest DMV offices to Culver City are Santa Monica, Inglewood, and West Hollywood. Wait times at these offices range from 30 minutes to one and a half hours.

There may be some good news for the future.

"Over the last several weeks, there has been a drop-off in the number of customers," said Armenta.

Armenta added that DMV services are even available in "mobile" form, via IPhone and SmartPhone apps.

"There are some transactions, however, that have to be done in person at a DMV office." Taking a driver's test is one of these.

For these customers DMV is taking action to further expand appointment opportunities. DMV has found that about 25 percent of applicants for a new driver license are not showing up to appointments and will be making those additional appointments available to all DMV customers.


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