The Albany office of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles held a grand opening ceremony at its new Central Avenue location today.
The DMV moved uptown in January from an Albany County-owned South Pearl Street building to make way for several county agencies including the Board of Elections. New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul: "What a nice experience when you walk in this door and see the beautiful video screen and the nice lighting and, guess what? When I was a county clerk people, we didn't have chairs! I mean, the expectation was, remember the image of walking in lines that was like Disney World, they kept makin' 'em longer and they rope you around and you didn't realize how long it was going to be? Well, when I became the county clerk I realized that as a young mother it was very hard to be taking care of little toddlers who wanted to run around. So we made sure that we had a ticket system. We instituted chairs. We had a little kids’ play area, we had video screens you could watch. It was all about diverting the attention from the possibility of a wait. But we also cut down wait times, and that's exactly what we're doing here using technology and giving people the knowledge of how long it's going to take."
Acting DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder says the new Albany office is state-of-the-art. Hi-resolution electronic welcoming screens and a wall mural depicting some local agency history greet visitors. "Though the cars and the documents may have changed over the years, our mission remains the same: to provide New Yorkers with secure documents, promote safety, protect consumers, and deliver essential motor vehicle and driver-related services. Our vision is to be a national leader in providing efficient, innovative and responsive government services, and you're seeing that firsthand today by being here in Albany."
Schroeder says customers soon will be able to reserve time online prior to venturing out to the DMV, now located on the major Albany-Schenectady bus route. He suggests people sign up now for the enhanced driver's license, which will become mandatory for air travel in 2020.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan noted that the facility is people-friendly. "You need an I.D. for so many things. And in the city of Albany, for example, we have many people who are justice-related. We have many people who are returning from incarceration. And they need that I.D. as a first step. And the respect with which they are treated here, often sets the tone for the success that they're going to have in re-entry. And that might not be something that people think about when they think about DMV, but it's something that we think about."
The DMV is open weekdays 8:30 to 4 except Thursday, when the hours are 10-6