At 8 a.m. this morning, the Wright County License Bureau and other DMV offices around the state re-opened with the new MNDRIVE software system to process requests from residents for new driver’s licenses, tab/plate renewals, title transfers, etc. The buzz phrase being said about the new system is, “So far, so good.”
Wright County License Bureau Supervisor Becky Aanerud said that, while she and her staff didn’t sleep very well last night in preparation for the launch of MNDRIVE, it is nothing close to the disaster license bureau/DMV staffers experienced with the launch of the disastrous MNLARS system, which was broken from the outset.
There have been some minor issues and the process of entering data requires more steps, but, for the most part, the new system has launched without many issues.
“It’s running a little bit slower because of the additional steps and we discovered a little glitch early this morning,” Aanerud said. “That isn’t very unusual when you launch a new software program. The good news is it was nothing major. It was a lot better than MNLARS. That was a problem from Day 1 and was a problem for a long time. That’s why the state decided to replace it.”
There only real issue on the opening day of the MNDRIVE system was that that Minnesota Department of Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) website is having issues with online services such as applying for a license online, taking the Class D knowledge test or scheduling an appointment. The issue is being worked on and is expected to be fixed within the next couple of days if not sooner.
Aanerud said that, for the most part, residents have been understanding of the necessity for social distancing, wearing masks, adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols and setting appointments to keep the number of people in the hall outside the License Bureau to a minimum.
As staff continues to learn the new process of entering information, Aanerud asks the residents be understanding that the process is new and will have a definite learning curve.
“We ask people to be patient,” Aanerud said. “Most people have been very kind and understanding. This system will take some getting used to and will take some time because we’re doing more with this system than we did with MNLARS. When people bring documentation, we’re scanning that into the system now, which is very different for us.”
While the new system is expected to be a significant upgrade from MNLARS and, as staff gets acclimated with the new process, the speed of completing transactions will speed up. However, due to COVID-19, transactions that don’t involve renewing a driver’s license will continue to be done at the walkup window on the south parking deck of the Wright County Government Center.
This has been the case for several months, but Aanerud wants residents to know we won’t be seeing any more of the 70 degree days we saw in late-summer and early-autumn and that there are lines that form from time to time throughout the day, so residents are urged to dress appropriately for standing outside for several minutes.
“One thing we want to ask residents is that, until COVID goes away, we’re going to be processing everything other than driver’s licenses at our back window,” Aanerud said. “There are times when there are lines waiting to get in and, with the cold weather, we ask that they dress accordingly. We’ve had lines pretty much all day because we were closed at the end of last week and it’s taking a little longer to process requests with the new system.”