Long wait times for Real IDs

YORK TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Real IDs have been available since March 1st, but now folks are seeing longer than usual wait times at the PennDOT drivers license centers. Some were waiting as long as four hours, if not longer.

One by one, folks entered the PennDOT Driver License Center on Queen Street, only to come out feeling less than happy.

"People coming in here for a drivers test, drivers license," Dave Sledzik, who was waiting to get his Real ID, said. "You look at them going in they kind of have a smile on their face. You look at them coming out, they don't have a nice thing to say."

Beginning October 1st 2020, people are going to need a Real ID if they plan on boarding a domestic commercial flight or entering a secure federal building. PennDOT just began issuing them March 1st. And the wait time is even longer than you might be used to.

"I got here a little bit after they opened," Jennifer Powl said. "And I've been here for about three hours and I just got through. It's been exhausting really."

Joseph Yoquinto, also in line, had been waiting for more than two and a half hours.

PennDOT said they've been busy issuing 43,000 of them statewide in just 14 days. They said they've added staff and moved people around to try and minimize wait times.

"Those transactions require us to to review documents, they require us to verify those documents electronically and that process is laid out for us in federal regulation," Alexis Campbell, Press Secretary of PennDOT, said. "We can't cut corners."

Campbell said it doesn't help that some people are coming in even if they don't have to. If you got your drivers license after 2003, you might be eligible to request it online and avoid the wait. As for those who have to be there:

"It's unacceptable," Powl said. "We spend a lot of money on taxes. This is a government job. They should have more people."

"We don't want you to be waiting that long," Campbell said. "That certainly - our goal is to have you in and out as quickly as possible. So we apologize for that inconvenience."

To minimize your wait time if you have to physically go to get your Real ID, first check to make sure you aren't eligible to get it online. Second, avoid going on Tuesdays and Saturdays and during lunch time if possible. Lastly make sure you have all of the documents you need. For all of that information, click here.

"In general, March is a very busy month, which can contribute to wait times at driver license centers," Campbell added. "For context, most people’s interactions with the driver license center are limited to getting a photo taken every four years, which is a quick and efficient process. In fact, nearly half of the customers who visited the York DLC Wednesday were there for photo services, and the average wait time for this service was 7 minutes. We work diligently to serve customers as quickly and efficiently as possible, and constantly monitor wait times and reallocate resources accordingly."

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