COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Drivers are facing longer wait times lately at many Department of Motor Vehicle offices in California.
"Waiting and waiting, just kind of frustrating," said Ramiro Rodriguez, as he stood in line at a DMV office in Costa Mesa.
Rodriguez said he had been waiting for three-and-a-half hours and he still had not made it to the counter to renew his drivers license. He admitted he did not make an appointment ahead of time, believing it wouldn't take that long.
Some said the line started before 6:30 a.m. and the office doesn't open until 9 a.m.
"It was crowded and everyone was anxious," said James Wilson of Costa Mesa.
The DMV has had system problems over the past two weeks, said Jessica Gonzalez, assistant deputy director with the CA DMV Office of Media Relations.
Gonzalez also said there are longer wait times at various California field offices due to changes that include implementing special cards called "Real ID", a new queuing system and an electronic drivers license and ID card application.
Last January, the DMV started accepting Real ID applications. The cards - coming after the 9/11 attacks - comply with federal air-travel rules that start in 2020. You can still board a plane without a Real ID card after that time if you use your passport.
To get a Real ID, you need proof of identity, social security number, and California residency - and these documents must be submitted in person.
The DMV says customers are spending more time at the "Start Here" area of DMV offices, as staff explain what's required to get Real ID.
Staff must also spend more time looking at all the necessary documents.
In a statement Gonzalez said, "We apologize for the delays. We are working on solutions that should offer the public an improved customer experience."
That's little consolation for Wilson. He says he finally got his license renewed four and a half hours after arriving.
"Terrible...I don't want to do it again," said Wilson.
The DMV stressed that customers without appointments will wait longer. It is recommended people make an appointment before their local DMV field office visit.
However Eyewitness News talked with customers who said they tried to make an appointment but the next available date was after their license had already expired.
According to the DMV, customers renewing their vehicle registration generally do not need to visit the DMV. Vehicle registration renewal transactions can be done by mail, online, at a Self-Service Terminal, a Registration Business Partner, or at AAA for members.