California DMV offices will be shut down for a half-day on July 24 as officials re-train employees on customer service and better prepare them for REAL ID transactions, a move they hope will ultimately help ease notoriously long wait times for customers.
All statewide offices will be closed until 1 p.m. that day, including 183 DMV field offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles announced in a statement on Monday
The training -- dubbed "Operation Excellence" -- is intended to reinforce training on "providing excellent customer service" while simultaneously giving employees the tools needed to handle the volume of REAL ID applications as the October 2020 compliance deadline looms, the statement read.
More than 5,000 employees will take part.
Officials hope that customers will receive a more consistent experience across the state, regardless of which DMV office they visit, as a result of the employee training.
“Our employees are at the heart of every transaction we perform,” acting DMV Director Kathleen Webb said in the statement. “With this commitment to training, we can ensure they have the proper tools, knowledge, and experience to provide excellent customer service to the people of California.”
Operation Excellence was enacted as part of the DMV Reinvention Strike Team, which was created by Gov. Gavin Newsom in January amid complaints of long wait times at field offices statewide.
Those wait times were exacerbated by the demand for federally complaint REAL ID driver's license or identification cards, which will be needed by Oct. 1, 2020, in order for passengers to fly within the United States. Those who don't have a REAL ID card will need to show a passport to board a domestic flight.
“The unprecedented complexity of the REAL ID requirements is what led to the idea that we needed to take the extraordinary step of closing DMV offices for a short time to make sure all employees have consistent information in order to complete the transactions successfully,” Government Operations Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer, the leader of the DMV Strike TEAM, stated in the release.
While the offices are closed, DMV Call Centers will remain open and be contacted by dialing 1-800-777-0133.
Customers also will be able to conduct certain transactions through other means, including the DMV's website and the agency's self-service kiosks.