Longer waits at Mission driver’s license office are back — but not as bad as last year

Wait times at the Mission driver’s license office are about half what they were last summer.

Long lines at the local driver’s license offices are back — but they’re not as bad as last year. And they’re not out of line with what the Kansas Department of Revenue says is common during busy summertime months.

“What we sort of correlate that to is actually the time of the year, as everyone’s trying to go back to school,” said Zach Fletcher, public information officer for the state Department of Revenue. “The overall wait time has actually gone down compared to July of last year.”

For instance, the average wait time at the Mission driver’s license office at 6507 Johnson Drive in July 2018 was 47 minutes. Right now, the average wait time is almost half that: 28 minutes.

Still some Johnson County residents have reported encountering wait times of two hours in recent weeks.

Improvement since last year

The last half of 2018 saw an average wait time at the Mission office anywhere from half an hour to more than an hour. But since January, those average wait times have gone down, hovering between 13 and 19 minutes. Fletcher noted that the jump back up to 28 minutes this month is likely because the office is busy with teenagers taking driver’s education and getting their licenses.

Wait times can drop even further if people don’t wait until the summertime to address renewals, Fletcher noted.

“We just want to remind people that you can renew up to a year in advance of your expiration date,” he said, adding that customers can visit any driver’s license office for services, not just the one closest to them.

Real ID remains a cause of the longer wait times because changing from a regular Kansas license to one that’s approved under the Real ID Act causes longer processing times for customers. Applying for a Real ID requires additional paperwork (like a birth certificate or passport). However, once customers get a Real ID, they don’t have to bring in the additional paperwork for subsequent renewals, Fletcher said.

But hey, at least the new text-alert system is no longer broken.

When customers register online with the new system, they can see the average wait time at that moment and also how many clients are ahead of them.

Fletcher said the vendor chosen through an open-bid process was ACF Tech Inc., the same vendor who provided the system that wasn’t working previously. In this new contract, the company has provided a customized version of the Q-Flow system at a cost of $92,641. The customized software also provides for on-site training to personnel to help understand it.