A North Jersey lawmaker is continuing the push to have the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) expand in-person operations reduced during the pandemic.
State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-25) introduced legislation May 12 to end what he categorizes as some of the confusing, inconvenient policies that have plagued New Jersey motorists conducting business at NJMVC locations.
Specifically, the measures would require every NJMVC agency to provide in-person vehicle and licensing services for senior citizens and those with disabilities.
Helping Seniors, Disabled
“All New Jersey residents should have convenient access to all Motor Vehicle Commission services, including those who have disabilities or lack access to reliable high-speed internet,” said Bucco. “If the MVC and the Administration won’t open all agencies for all services, the very least we can do is accommodate our seniors and the disabled.”
During COVID, the commission designated agency locations as either a licensing center or a vehicle center and required some services to be completed online. The Murphy Administration has promoted the success of moving most of its services online, such as the renewal of licenses, to make it easier and lessen the need for in-person visits.
But Bucco noted that the COVID-19 policies that remain in effect make it more difficult for some residents who face mobility challenges.
“To access certain in-demand services, people are required to travel to designated locations. That can often mean driving a half hour or more out of their way, often passing other MVC facilities, for a routine transaction,” Bucco continued. “It is unreasonable and unnecessary. People shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get paperwork or register a car they purchased from a private seller.”
Bucco was a frequent critic of the commission actions during the pandemic, pushing officials to address the long lines, interrupted service and closed MVC locations that angered residents attempting to register vehicles, schedule drivers’ testing, or renew paperwork.
Other legislation Bucco has championed include to reduce long lines and wait times at MVC locations by allowing licensed motor vehicle dealers to facilitate the issuance of certificates of ownership and registrations of cars purchased through private sellers.
During the pandemic, the Morris County lawmaker cited persistent lines and poor customer service as indicators of deeper problems at NJMVC, arguing these deficiencies had become business as usual for the agency. He advocated for such measures as mobile units to help Garden State residents to ease backlogs.
The GOP legislator is advocating for the moves since it has been nearly two and a half months since Gov. Phil Murphy declared the public health state of emergency over.
“The health emergency is over, and it is time to take steps to better accommodate residents who require a higher level of service,” Bucco said. “With some sensible adjustments, my bill will help make Motor Vehicles more user friendly. Our seniors and persons with disabilities deserve that.”