Speed is the goal at the first of 3 new Nebraska DMV offices to open in Omaha area
Aimee Heckler had been dreading changing her last name on her driver’s license since her September wedding because she envisioned a long wait at the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.
“I was worried about how long it would take,” the Papillion resident said Wednesday. “Then I get here, and it couldn’t have been easier. I’ve been here less than 5 minutes, and they already called my number.”
The only hiccup, she said, was when she mistakenly stopped first at the Sarpy County Courthouse near 84th Street and Nebraska Highway 370. There, she was referred to the Metro South Service Center in Bellevue. The office, near 42nd Street and Highway 370, opened in May.
The opening of the service center, at 4502 Maass Road, followed the closure of driver’s license offices at 50th and F Streets and the Sarpy County Courthouse. It’s one of three new driver’s license offices planned for the area as part of a reconfiguration of services, said Rhonda Lahm, director of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Lahm spoke Wednesday at a press conference at the service center with Gov. Pete Ricketts.
Within the next 18 months, Lahm said, other service centers will open near 56th Street and Ames Avenue and a location still to be chosen in west Omaha. Driver’s license operations no longer will be available at Douglas County offices at 5730 S. 144th St. and 2910 N. 108th St. in Omaha, although residents still will go to those locations for county business such as license plate renewals.
The biggest improvement in moving driver’s license services out of county buildings and into three separate locations will be time savings, Ricketts said. A study of the Metro South Service Center, which has 16 service counters, found that the average wait time for driver’s license applicants dropped from 32½ minutes to 7½ minutes, he said.
When the state noticed that driver’s license services in the growing Omaha metropolitan area were increasing by over 9 percent per year, a study determined that merging driver’s license operations into their own locations made the most sense. With the Metro South Service Center on schedule to process 110,000 customers per year, that will mean a savings of 40,000 hours of time, Ricketts said.
“On top of the new service center here, we’ve also rolled out a new online system to be able to set an appointment to get your drive test,” he said. “The average time to wait to get a drive test is usually about 35 minutes. This will allow people to set an appointment to help them better manage their time.”
Lahm said the DMV also is looking into other time savers such as allowing customers to complete forms online before they go to the offices.
“We are looking forward to incorporating some additional technologies in the next 12 months,” Lahm said. “We can have appointments for all types of services that we provide.”