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More Self-Service Terminals At California DMVs

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

A man uses a self-service terminal to renew his registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles field office in Sacramento.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

If you’re tired of waiting in line to renew your registration at California Department of Motor
Vehicles field offices, help is on the way: The DMV added self-service terminals at 15 more field offices.

There’s a new robotic voice at the DMV to go along with the one you’ve come to know so well. 

These self-service terminals are now at 50 DMV field offices – out of 170 offices statewide that accept registration renewals. Emily from West Sacramento, who declined to give her last name, used the kiosk at the Sacramento field office for her third year.

“If there’s nobody in line, five, ten minutes, I’m outta here,” Emily said.

And how long would it take her if she couldn't use the terminal? “Two hours…”

The DMV’s Jessica Gonzalez says you just need your renewal notice or current registration. “You type in your information, pay the machine and it instantly spits out your tickets, your tags and your registration card.”

The terminals have processed three million registration renewals since the DMV started using them five years ago. The state pays the equipment vendor $3.75 for each transaction.


Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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