DMV Closure: Bay Area customers line the block waiting for doors to open after employees' Real ID training

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Not everyone got the word that their local DMV office was closed Wednesday morning.

While some were frustrated outside, inside, all 5,000 front-line DMV employees were receiving training on how to better process Real ID transactions.

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"They were doing role-playing, playing customers and employees and going through real-life scenarios," explained DMV spokesman Jaime Garza, "to figure out what is the best way to service our customers."

Laura Fitzsimmons sat outside the Walnut Creek DMV office, waiting to be the first in line when the doors did open.

She thinks the training is definitely needed.

"I think so to be honest because when I called to ask some general questions about the documents I need," said Fitzsimmons, "the man who answered the phone seemed not familiar with answering some of my questions."

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The training may be valuable in the long run, but in the short-term, the closure created a huge backlog of people trying to get in and get their business done.

By 12:45 pm the line to get into the Claremont Avenue branch in Oakland extended almost all the way around the building.

Once the doors opened at 1 pm, DMV personnel did seem ready to provide Real ID service with a fresh outlook.

Still, some customers wondered if a half-day of training is enough.

"I think they should do like ten days of that," said Demetra Airaudi, as she waited outside the Walnut Creek office.

The training is called "Operation Excellence."

By October 1, 2020, the federal government will require passengers flying within the United States to present a real ID-compliant driver's license or identification card, or another federally approved document, such as a passport, before boarding a plane.

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