HOUSTON--It s high noon at DPS, and the line at South Gessner s driver s license office stretches out the door and down the sidewalk.
I set aside the whole day to try and get this knocked out, said Mike Smith. Looks like it s going to take half a day just to get inside the doors.
Across town at the Dacoma office, frustration is running high.
I can t afford to continue to take days off, said Rico Valley. My employer won t stand for it.
If the line to get a license is long, the wait for an actual road test can be as long two months.
I don t think there s enough knowledge as to why the waits exist, said Tom Carter, a senior regional manager for the Driver s License Division. And secondly, that we re even trying to do anything about it.
The fact is the state s population has grown 21-percent in the last 10 years, and DPS staffing as remained the same, the result of budget constraints. That changed last legislative session, when state lawmakers set aside $63 million to address the problem.
We re building six mega-centers statewide, two of them here in the Houston area, said Carter.
The move will increase staff by 25-percent and reduce average wait times from hours, in some cases to 30 or 45 minutes