Some customers like a new policy at the Beaufort office of the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles requiring appointments for road tests, but DMV officials say it's too early to gauge the month-old program's performance.
The program started June 4 and requires drivers taking road teststo make appointments. The program is being tested in 12 offices in the state to determine whether it will speed up customer service and make DMV offices more efficient.
Many customers are still unaware of the appointment-only policy, DMV spokeswoman Beth Parks said, but some customers and employees have already reported positive feedback about better service and shorter wait times. Road tests can take up to 40 minutes, and the process requires the attention of several different clerks, Parks said.
"It's still a new program ... and it's not like people go to the DMV every day," she said. "It's a learning curve, but I know it's picking up."
An employee at the Beaufort office on Thursday agreed with Parks, saying that limiting road-test appointments to between 2 and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday helps all customers get in and out faster. The employee said the office had about 10 road-test appointments last week , but the number varies each week.
Christian Hart, applying for his first driver's license, took his road test Thursday. His mother, Kim, said it lasted about half an hour.
"It's a lot better than it used to be," she said.
The Beaufort office was chosen for testing the program because customer traffic is high and because it has computer software that tracks how long customers spend in the office, Parks said.
The Bluffton office still accepts only walk-ins for road tests.
If the pilot program is successful, it could spread to other DMV offices, Park said. Detailed figures on the program's performance won't be collected for another couple of months.
Follow Anne Christnovich on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_CrimeNOB