DMV Vows Reforms After Man Emerges In Only 12 Minutes
Jerusalem (AP) – A local man went to the local licensing bureau office to obtain a necessary document this morning and succeeded with a minimal wait time and no hassle, casting doubt on the Licensing Authority’s competence as a purveyor of frustration and confronting the Ministry of Transportation with a scandal unseen in severity in more than two decades.
Shortly before noon, Jerusalem resident Daoud Ibn Swid, 38, entered the licensing office in the center of the city to receive a printout of his renewed car registration, which he had not received in the mail. After passing through security and taking a number, Ibn Swid waited approximately 11 minutes before his number was called. Exacerbating the swiftness of the experience was the apparent efficiency of the clerk, who, after asking for ID, called up the pertinent information on her computer terminal and printed out the document, causing Mr. Ibn Swid to spend less than 60 seconds at the counter and encounter no frustration or obstacles.
Normally, says Licensing Authority spokeswoman Byurakra See, visitors to the various bureau offices are expected to spend at least 45 minutes waiting before their number is called. Then procedures mandate that the visitor be shunted to different windows at least twice before even a preliminary resolution of the inquiry can be offered. Following that stage, clerks are directed to ask for documentation that the visitor does not have on hand, such as a passport, an old, expired driver’s license, a birth certificate, a college transcript, or a full credit history printout.
If the visitor has provided all of that documentation, says See, computer network errors or printer malfunctions must disrupt any effort to meet the visitor’s needs. According to See, initial indications point to a large number of previous visitors who despaired more quickly than expected of accomplishing anything and departed, leaving the staff unprepared for Mr. Ibn Swid to appear at a service counter showing no signs of accumulated frustration or anger.
“Our clerks are well trained in identifying and exploiting the most irritating aspect of visiting our facilities, but these unforeseen circumstances meant that they had to confront a calm, even happy, visitor, and our procedures do not cover that unprecedented development.” She assured reporters that the Authority would both amend the procedures to cover any possible recurrences of this scenario and examine existing procedures to determine how it might be prevented in the first place.
Minister of Transportation Israel Katz also promised a full inquiry, noting that no visitor to the Licensing Authority offices had emerged in less than 15 minutes since 1993. On two consecutive April days that year, an office in the city of Haifa processed more than eighteen people over the course of the five hours it was open, far above the average of seven visitors. That episode, infamously known in Israeli bureaucratic circles as The Efficiency Plague, prompted the development of tighter controls and procedures for the mishandling of visitors, procedures that apparently worked well until today.
Minister Katz said his office would investigate whether any bribery or other inducement was used to prompt the clerk to process Mr. Ibn Swid’s document quickly, but conceded it was unlikely, given the brevity of the time the two spent interacting.