SOMERVILLE, NJ — If you are heading out to the Somerville Motor Vehicle Commission on Tuesday be prepared to wait a long time. Some residents in line came prepared with lawn chairs and umbrellas to shield themselves from the heat. (Watch video of the line below)
Louis Jacques of Linden arrived at 6:40 a.m. to find hundreds of residents lined up and around the parking lot, along Roosevelt Place and Schoolhouse Lane, and all the way to Van Derveer School.
“It shouldn’t be like this. They should have opened to appointments only,” Jacques said who was waiting to get a title. He was still in line at 11 a.m.
Once residents make it to the front door, they are then given a number and have to wait again until they are called into the building. This is to ensure capacity and social distancing can be maintained inside.
After being closed for more than four months, all New Jersey MVC centers reopened to in-person service Tuesday. The state was set to reopen the MVC on June 29, but delayed the opening to July 7 due to continuing concerns about the coronavirus.
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Outside, Somerville Police have closed Roosevelt Place and Schoolhouse Lane to traffic and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office was also present to help control the crowd.
Due to the road closures, parking is nearly impossible to find with surrounding side streets packed with parked cars. At one point, an SUV drove over the curb on Union Avenue to try and bypass the police barriers but was stopped by police.
Tirza Duiterrez of North Brunswick arrived at 7:30 a.m. and was still a ways to go before getting to the front door at 11 a.m.
Duiterrez said she has been waiting since March when the coronavirus hit to register her car.
“I am stressed and tired, but you have to do what you have to do,” Duiterrez said. She was able to spend the day waiting since she is currently on unemployment.
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick visited the Motor Vehicle Commission agency in Springfield on Tuesday morning to also find a line with hundreds of people waiting with no communication.
“This is why people are frustrated with government,” said Bramnick (R-Union). “Total chaos could have been avoided if the MVC at least handed out numbers as people arrived. People cannot tell where the line begins and there is no communication. This is unacceptable. The department has had more than three months to prepare for this but has failed the people of New Jersey yet again.”
Other MVC agencies in the state are also experience similar delays.
West Depford is also reporting long lines while construction at the Wayne location is creating “unusual” traffic volume.
NJ.com reports that Passaic County sheriff officers closed the Oakland agency before 9 p.m. John Ellis told the publication that he was waiting in line in Oakland, but went to Wayne after the closure was announced.
Northjersey.com reports long lines in Lodi as well, with lines wrapping around the building three times. There, the first person in line arrived before midnight on Monday.
However, the Lodi location was closed before 8 a.m. due to “overwhelming capacity,” according to the publication.
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Sue Fulton commented on the situation on Tuesday.
“As we reopen today, MVC agencies are experiencing extraordinarily high customer volumes. In anticipation of long lines due to social distancing restrictions, Agency management personnel were pre-deployed to our busiest agencies, beginning at 6 a.m., two hours before our start time. Additionally, all of our senior staff in operations are deployed to agencies to help process transactions. While we understand the frustration of our customers in this extremely challenging and difficult time, our employees are doing the best they can to keep everyone safe and work as efficiently as possible,” Fulton said.
Fulton also reminded residents to utilize the MVC’s text notification systems and that expiration dates were extended. Residents are asked to check NJMVC.gov before going to an agency, as some customers are in line for transactions that can be done online.
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This article originally appeared on the Bridgewater Patch