OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Many Oklahomans are frustrated, waiting in line for hours at the Department of Public Safety.
“Last time, we sat out here for hours, and we started back there, and we got all the way up to the building and got turned away,” said Misti Shaddix.
It’s the same story for many Oklahomans, showing up at 4:30 a.m. to try and get help.
“It is very frustrating as a parent to try and get your child a state ID or a driver’s license. The wait is incredible, the time process just to get an appointment is incredible,” said Beccie Harrigan.
The first person in line on Thursday morning showed up at 1 a.m.
He drove from Enid, trying to walk in and get help.
“Standing out in the cold,” said Shaddix.
On top of all the people in line, appointments have already been scheduled for the day for every 20 minutes.
“You have hundreds of people, waiting for hours and hours and hours. Even on the south side, it’s always been like this,” said Shaddix.
DPS says they’ve been working to tackle the issue but they say it’s a combination of three different setbacks.
First, COVID-19 is forcing them to allow fewer people inside in order to keep social distance.
“Our offices were closed for about a month at the beginning of the pandemic and we see a lot of people every day so that backed us up right there,” said Sarah Stewart, with DPS.
Also, budget cuts are not allowing them to fill 28 frozen driver’s license examiner positions.
Rollout of the ‘Real ID’ also backing appointments up.
They had to train employees on the new system, which took them away from other jobs.
Stewart says the new system itself shouldn’t be causing too many issues.
“As with any new system, it is going to take a little bit to get used to it, to learn all the things so it could just be a general slowdown like that. But overall, we don’t think that the actual system itself is a major issue,” she said.
Right now, you can schedule an appointment 60 days out.
New appointments go online each night at 6 p.m. here.
Otherwise, staff says unfortunately, the best option is to wait in line.
“We don’t like this situation any more than they do and that’s why we’re working on it to see how we can possibly make it better,” said Stewart. “We just want people to know that we’re diligently working on this. We’re trying to think outside of the box, and just come up with any ways we can to serve the most people possible.”
One option they’ve discussed is extending hours or working on Saturdays.
“That also takes money and personnel but that is another thing that we’re looking at and seeing if we can do,” said Stewart.
For more information, you can visit DPS’ website.
Stewart also stresses that you should be aware of your expiration date so you can book an appointment far enough in advance.