LAFAYETTE — Drivers and soon-to-be drivers across Acadiana are keeping the Office of Motor Vehicles in Lafayette busy.
The OMV is now offering limited services while the office operates at 25-percent capacity. Those services include the issuance/renewal of driver licenses and/or identification cards, ordering a duplicate title, renewing vehicle registrations, and title transfers.
"Normally, we go to Breaux Bridge DMV or in Baton Rouge, but they said that there wasn't a long wait, so we decided to take a gamble with this one, but it was all day," said Kasy Vidrine, who traveled from St. Martin Parish. "I think we still have three or four hours to go."
Vidrine was among the dozens who waited outside of the OMV Wednesday morning during a downpour.
"It started raining on us, which kind of worked because half the line didn't want to sit in the rain, but, of course, as you can tell, it's back around the building already," said Vidrine. "We're finally at the door."
For others, their trips weren't as successful.
"You get up there, thinking you could come take care of your business, and you'll be in line two, two and half, three hours," said Ronald Onezine, who traveled from St. Landry Parish. "You get up there, and then they're telling you, 'Oh, you can't get your license plate reinstated because you have to call such and such number."
Reinstatements will only be provided via phone, mail, or a public tag agency.
The number to the OMV Call Center is 225-925-6146. Press '3' when given the option. According to a spokesperson for the OMV, as of Tuesday, the average wait time on the call was six and a half minutes.
The address for the OMV Mail Center is:
P.O. Box 64886
Baton Rouge, La. 70896
Customers are also encouraged to check their driver license status at www.expresslane.org. Drivers must clear any issues before going to the OMV.
"If they can't reinstate plates until you get a ticket or fine paid up, at least put it on the news, so people can know to take care of that before they get here because everybody has been knowing to pay their fines and take care of their tickets here," said Onezine.
Some say while it may be a long wait, it's difficult to avoid.
"This is like a necessity," said Vidrine. "People need their cars, they need their titles, they need their plates and everything. It's just not worth the risk of not coming and something happening."
Lafayette is among the five OMV locations in Acadiana that has reopened. The others are: Breaux Bridge, Crowley, Eunice, and Jennings.
The OMV spokesperson says they're trying to get all branches open as soon as possible. The holdups are staffing and building barriers at the locations.
If you'd like to pay a little extra to try to avoid the lines, you can use express services.
The Express OMV at 3200 Johnston Street is one of the businesses that is now open. There, you'll pay an additional $18 convenience fee. For a list of services at the Express OMV, click here.
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