The Motor Vehicle Commission reopened more offices on Tuesday for the first time since March but has been turning away people who waited on line for hours with hundreds of others at each location.

After a one-week delay, the offices opened for licensing and permits, out-of-state transfers, Real ID appointments for people whose previous appointments were put off, and renewals for drivers whose licenses expired more than three months ago.

The delay was to make sure a texting program was working to allow customers to check in and wait outside. Instead, people grouped outside for hours before the branch offices opened with customers in Eatontown, Freehold, Flemington and Newton telling New Jersey 101.5 that hundreds of people were waiting.

The Ocean County Sheriff's Office announced on Twitter account just after 10 a.m. that the Lakewood branch was "at capacity" and no new customers were being accepted.

The inspection facility in Flemington had a long line of cars backed up onto the shoulder of Route 202.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, said the Springfield office was a "complete mess."

"Nightmare at Motor Vehicles continues. Very sad. People don’t know where the line starts. No MVC help," he said on Twitter.

"This is why people are frustrated with government. MVC should have at least handed out numbers as people arrived. Instead hundreds wait with no information. Total chaos that could have been avoided in Springfield. People now wait in the heat during a pandemic without info," Bramnick wrote.

MVC spokesman James Hooker said the MVC was preparing a statement in response to questions by New Jersey 101.5.

Users line up at the Lakewood MVC office
Users line up at the Lakewood MVC office (Lakewood Scoop)

Joe Vicente told New Jersey 101.5 that he was #110 on a line that was capped at 100. He was turned away after waiting since 6:30 a.m.

"The issue is lunch and breaks the employees need to take. There must be close to 1,000 people behind me," Vicente said a police officer monitoring the crowd told him, joking that the nearby Dunkin was doing booming business. Vicente said "pretty much everybody" is wearing masks.

Kim White, of Jackson, went to the Freehold branch to pick up her daughter's new driver's license after she passed her road test the previous week. She estimated the crowd at 500 or 600 people. A police officer told her only 200 people were being let in.

"The line wraps around the building, through the parking lot, past the inspection, out onto the road and onto the ramp" from Route 33, according to White.

"Everybody's pretty much in the same boat. We're all here for our kids," White said.

She estimated about 40% of the crowd was wearing masks and said there was no police presence.

Line at the Lakewood MVC
Line at the Lakewood MVC (Bobby Ring)

New Jersey 101.5 traffic announcer Bob Williams said a friend at the Warren County office told him it was "confusing and tensions were high this morning."

Patti McCormick, of Bradley Beach, said she went to the Eatontown office but went home emptyhanded after police old her that there was a four-hour wait.

Line at the Springfield MVC office
Line at the Springfield MVC office (Jon Bramnick)
Line approaching the Springfield MVC office
Line approaching the Springfield MVC office (Jon Bramnick)

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