It’s a task we all dread: the long wait at the DPS office to renew our driver’s license. A few years ago, it seemed the DPS was taking some pity on us by extending the life of each renewal from four to six years. I don’t think it helped. I’m not entirely sure it was really meant to. Finally, the DPS has announced a plan to deal with the problem.

To help decrease the number of people waiting in line, additional DPS personnel (including Texas Troopers) are being assigned to high-volume offices to help identify customers who can immediately get out of line and conduct their transaction online, by phone or by mail. This effort may be expanded to other offices as needed. DPS will also be hiring 100 positions over the course of the next few months to increase staffing at the busiest offices in the state. (These will not be immediate hires due to the extensive background checks required.)

There are a couple of ways to find out if you’re eligible to skip the trip to the DPS office:

  • Call 1-866-DL-RENEW (1-886-357-3639).
  • From a smartphone, you can verify eligibility at gov.

Since July 9, DPS has implemented a limited-transaction initiative in seven offices where excessive demand and small wait areas forced customers to wait outside in the elements most of the day. The results of that limited-transaction initiative produced an average 44 percent decrease in in-office transactions as well as an increase in online transactions.  By prioritizing in-office service to those customers who are required to be there, both the in-office customers and the alternative-transaction customers are served more efficiently.

An underutilized option available to customers is to renew their DL or ID card early. You can renew up to two years in advance, and renew early does not impact the expiration date. If an office visit is required, renewing early allows customers to choose a convenient time that best fits their schedule and avoids the busiest times at the DL office.

Mondays and Fridays tend to be the busiest days, as well as after holidays. Overall, summer is the busiest time of the year. Try to plan your visit around these high-volume times, if possible.

Before you go to the office, make sure you have all the proper documentation, including documents needed for residency requirements.

Some of the offices receiving additional staffing include the Dallas area, Houston metro area, San Antonio, Waco and numerous other high volume offices. Unfortunately, Wichita Falls, your office did not make the list, at least not yet.

More information about all of DPS’ online services can be found here.


More From Newstalk 1290