In response to an angry uproar from residents and lawmakers about how unprepared the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission was to deal with huge crowds after agency offices reopened Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy has announced changes he hopes will expedite the lines.

During his Wednesday news briefing, Murphy said big crowds were expected but he was upset about long wait times at MVC offices across the Garden State, and he understood why so many people felt the same way.

“To ensure the MVC does not go understaffed, I am exempting MVC personnel from any work furloughs. We need to have every hand on deck, literally every day, serving the public,” he said.

Several days ago, Murphy announced a deal with the CWA to furlough state workers for a total of 12 days during the month of July, a move that was designed to save the state more than $100 million.

Murphys said the MVC will also scrap plans to stay closed on Mondays in July. Agencies will be open six days a week.

State officials are urging people to check to see whether they can complete their transactions online rather that in person.

He said while long lines may be hard to deal with, “please don’t be camping out overnight at an MVC agency or facility. Please stay home and stay safe.”

Murphy then said the women and men at the MVC are hard working and doing their best to serve New Jersey’s motorists.

“I know these times can be frustrating but please, please, please be polite as they work to serve you,” he said. “We have a backlog that has now been months in the making and we’ll do everything we can to make this a better situation but it won’t be overnight."

People camp outside the MVC in Wallington on Tuesday night.
People camp outside the MVC in Wallington on Tuesday night.

Murphy also agreed that communication by MVC staff to members of the public needs to be improved, and he said the idea of an appointment-only system at MVC offices might be considered as a way to lesson crowds, similar to what the MVC did when they began issuing Real ID driver’s licenses last year.

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