News release

January 8, 2013

Licensing office customer wait times lowest in eight years

OLYMPIA — Driver licensing offices across the state are experiencing some of the lowest customer wait times in eight years due to service innovations including expanded online and mail-in options and allowing qualifying driver training schools to conduct driver testing. The average statewide wait time at licensing service offices in December was 10 minutes.

“Our driver licensing offices are currently maintaining the best wait times we’ve seen in eight years, despite an 11 percent increase in licensed drivers, and the closing and consolidation of several licensing offices over this time period,” DOL Director Alan Haight said. “We continually look at all of our customer service options to see where we can enhance our customers’ experience, and it’s paying off.”

Haight said only 12 percent of the customers visiting DOL offices are currently waiting more than 30 minutes. About 90 percent of licensing service offices are meeting or exceeding the agency goal of customers waiting 30 minutes or less. Haight points out that although wait times are much lower than in recent history, there are no employee reductions planned.

“We still have plenty of customers to serve on any given day, and this improvement gives us extra time to check identity documents, more opportunity to do outreach in our communities, and time at the counter to better serve our customers who must come into an office,” said Haight.

Over the past several years, DOL has expanded online offerings to citizens, reducing or eliminating the need for them to come to a driver licensing office. In 2012, nearly one-quarter of the agency’s 3.4 million driver transactions were done by people who didn’t step foot inside an office—by mail or Internet. In five years, that percentage has grown from 5 percent to 23 percent.

“Governor Gregoire has pushed all agencies to maximize efficiency and continue to serve Washingtonians in new and innovative ways, so we constantly look at both big and little changes we can make to save money and to make things more convenient for our customers,” Haight said.

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