As a frequent critic of government, I must confess I had a remarkable experience at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles in Pleasanton last week.
After being auto-renewed for my driver’s license for the last few times, the department required me to show up when the renewal notice was sent.
I went online and reserved an appointment for last Friday—I did so about two weeks ago.
Arriving a few minutes early, I discovered a jammed parking lot and a line that stretched outside the door on one side.
Slipping between people in the long line, I discovered there was just one person waiting in the “appointments” line. The employee finished up with that person and quickly determined that I had an appointment and provided me with a number.
A couple of minutes later—I didn’t even have a chance to open my book—my number was called. The woman handling the renewal (eye test, updates on address, etc.) was very pleasant with lots of “thank yous” and a ready smile. If they had an award for quality service, she would have won it.
Then it was over to the photo booth, another electronic thumbprint and snap shot and done.
I was back in the car just 13 minutes after I received my number—I was quite surprised. Particularly so when I could overhear those without appointments talking on their cell phones about two hour or longer waits.
It is wonderful when an experience with a governmental agency—particularly one that used to be the definition of slow and of questionable competence—so greatly exceeds expectations.
Incidentally, some of the credit for that goes to Sunne McPeak who oversaw the DMV when she was a cabinet member for Gov. Schwarzenegger.