The discussion around the NY registration process and Mike’s comments about how great an experience it is in NH got me to thinking about my own past experiences. Vastly different state-state… So let’s hear it- have any tales that would make a grown man flinch or cry?
I spent a large part of my life in WI and back then it was a fairly straightforward process. Although the people behind the desk were not hostile, they weren’t exactly a welcoming committee either. You went to a state run facility (there were many of them), took a number and waited. The process and any associated products were clearly defined and easy to understand. Having regional facilities meant you were going to wait some time to get serviced. Probably on the order of 30-45 minutes worst case. To speed things along, you select the type of transaction and get a receipt for it. If you’re there to renew license plates, the line goes fast. You don’t need to wait for people getting eye exams for new licenses for example. That’s a different line.
I moved to MA and discovered the extreme opposite. You can go to city hall or a regional facility to do any RMV related business. Be prepared to wait. The people behind the counter are bent on imposing their lousy disposition on you. The ticket system is a mess. You push a specific button for a specific transaction. You get a printed slip with a specific number on it. Like the joke about the slots at the post office all dumping into a common bin behind the wall, the transactions are processed in the order they are received. This makes no sense but it’s only the beginning…screw up a form and it’s back of the line to wait again.
One time, a prior owner made a simple mistake on the title noting the date of the transaction. She crossed it out and put in the right date. I thought the RMV guy was going to pop a vein. This title in invalid! You need to get the original owner to reapply or at least notarize the change. Seriously? It’s a date change and it matches the bill of sale. Like any prior owner is going to take time out of their day to get it notarized or a new title. Get real. It took 45 minutes and discussions with the upper eschelon of their management to get them to accept it.
Only once did I have a fairly positive experience. It was as I was leaving the state and turning in my plates. After waiting an hour, a guy came out and was helping someone skirt the line to do something simple. So I asked if I could turn in my plates and he took me out of turn. It took all of 5 minutes although he kept asking why I had so many plates (I like cars!).
Come to NH and I see what it could be like. Any town hall can do car titling, registrations etc. New driver’s license must go to DMV. I head up to Dover expecting the worst. What’s this? Friendly people, smiling and welcoming you. They actually have a greeter that looks at what you want to do and helps get you started. The counter folks are all in good spirits and helpful. maybe 15 minutes tops and I have a new license with a “Welcome to NH!”. Indeed.
Registering a boat in MA is even more frustrating. There are a total of 3 places in the entire state last I checked where you can register a boat for the first time. Had to take a train into Boston, find the place, stand in line…hey, that’s Tom Silva from This Old House in line ahead of me…at least it applies to everyone Get to counter and find out you have to pay the taxes beforehand. It’s in another building blocks away. Race down there, pay taxes, come back stand in line again…missed train back so had to wait another hour. Ridiculous
Come to NH, town clerk does everything for three boats in 5 minutes. Done.