NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — Those that waited until the last day before the extensions end for expired registrations and drivers licenses were greeted with long lines that exceeded a three-hour wait at some Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles locations throughout Northeast Ohio.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, automatic extensions were granted to drivers whose licenses and registrations expired. Back in November, Gov. DeWine signed legislation to extend the expiration moratorium even further. However, the extension ends Thursday, July 1. The Ohio BMV estimates more than 320,000 drivers licenses and registrations expired over the course the year-long extension.
Drivers who waited until the last possible day to renew experienced long wait times — even when license bureaus opened Wednesday morning.
“About 8:45 I came up here and there was a whole line — I don’t know how far it was — but it was at least 25 to 30 people and it just kept getting longer and longer and longer,” said Donald Sacha of North Olmsted. “I admit to myself I did procrastinate. Don’t, don’t procrastinate. Please don’t. Unless you want to wait hours and hours.”
By the time Sacha left the North Olmsted license bureau, it was nearly noon — more than two hours after he first arrived. By mid-afternoon, the wait times at all but a couple of license bureaus had exceeded one or two hours.
The North Olmsted and Shaker Heights branches had wait times in excess of three hours. A number of drivers, however, took advantage of the BMV’s online check-in service, which allowed drivers to get in line — without having to physically be in line.
“I waited about 2 hours and 45 minutes,” said Christopher Rufner of North Olmsted. “But I was working from my cell phone. I went and got myself something to eat and then went back home. The biggest thing was so long as I was paying attention to my phone, the online check-in was actually pretty nice. The BMV has done a little bit better with this whole online thing but, come on, it’s still the BMV. Nobody has a good experience at the BMV, it’s just not how they roll.”