Gov. Phil Murphy said he is as frustrated as those who have spent the past two days in long lines at New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission facilities.
He said the state wasn’t caught off guard. And that it is making some changes — no furloughs for MVC workers; open six days a week starting next week.
He also offered: This is the new normal.
“We knew we were going to have a tsunami,” he said. “I would not use the word ‘unprepared,’ though I’m very frustrated by this — and I know (Commissioner) Sue Fulton is. And, if you’re in that line yesterday or today, I don’t blame you for being frustrated.
“I’m also frustrated that we’re living through a pandemic. And some of this stuff is just a reality.”
Murphy, speaking at his COVID-19 briefing, said not to expect things to change anytime soon, either.
“Please bear with this,” he said. “And this is probably, realistically, going to be with us for some number of weeks would be my guess based on the incomings.”
Murphy did not directly address the idea of having a ticketed system of arrival. He said MVC officials could do better at offering guidance at locations. He encouraged people to do more transactions online. And he said those who do come need to wear face coverings — in accordance with the executive order he is signing Wednesday.
And he begged people not to camp out overnight.
Most of all, he repeated his empathy for residents without offering solutions that will bring immediate relief.
“I know yesterday was a challenging first day back for everyone at the Motor Vehicle Commission,” he said. “And, I completely understand the frustration felt by every customer forced to wait on long lines as we reopen and deal with the months and months of backlog due to closures caused by the pandemic. What many experienced yesterday was not up to their expectations, or ours, and we will do better.
“You’re not happy, and neither am I.”
Murphy noted that the expiration dates for all driver’s licenses, permits and non-driver IDs, commercial registrations, inspections and temporary tags were automatically extended at the beginning of the state’s state of emergency.
And he encouraged residents to go to NJMVC.gov.
“If your transaction can be completed through MVC’s online services — use it,” he said. “Skip the line, skip the trip.”