- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 3, 2002

D.C. officials yesterday said bad management was to blame for lines around the block and hourlong waits at the District Department of Motor Vehicles' only operating vehicle-inspection station, located in Southwest.
The long lines will likely remain a part of city life for at least a year, until a second inspection station opens in July.
"In my 27 years in the District of Columbia, this is the worst I've ever seen," said D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat. "We are getting calls and calls and calls from a lot of irate people."
"It's just poor management. There's no other way to get to this point."
The DMV has provided inspection service for all of the city's nearly 250,000 registered vehicles at a single station since a second station was closed in April 1999.
D.C. residents expressed anger and frustration this week over hours spent in lines that stretched for as long as six blocks at the remaining inspection station, at 1001 Half St. SW.
The station closed early yesterday the fourth time this week because of intense heat, and it will close early again today.
"We know we have a problem there," said Tony Bullock, the mayor's spokesman. "When you've got lines around the block and people waiting for hours, you know you've got a problem."
The city plans to open a new $7.5 million inspection station in July 2003 at the intersection of West Virginia Avenue and Mount Olivet Road NE, the site of the old station.
The new station will have five inspection lanes, which, combined with the eight lanes at the present station, will give the city "the most lanes the city has ever had," said Regina Williams, a DMV spokeswoman.
"That will ease some of the discomfort," she said.
On Monday, 13 area gas stations will be authorized to perform reinspections for cars that have failed their initial inspection, at a charge of $25. But only seven of those stations will be ready to reinspect cars on Monday.
D.C. officials hope that two inspection stations, which will serve roughly 27,000 cars per month, will be enough for the city's 248,000 registered vehicles.
The station on Half Street inspects 17,000 cars a month. Mr. Bullock said it could inspect more, but it's understaffed.
"It's not enough," said D.C. Council member Adrian Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat. "This is an issue they've had plenty of time to resolve. It's infuriating that years have gone by and we are still faced with the same problems at the DMV."
"Management has to be improved," Mr. Fenty said.
As to why the city currently has only one inspection station, Ms. Williams said, "That's a question I can't answer."
Monday through Wednesday and again yesterday, the Half Street station opened one hour early, at 5 a.m., and closed four hours early, at 2 p.m. The station will open at 5 a.m. today and close at 1 p.m.
The department's policy is to close between 1 and 4 p.m. on any day the heat index is above 96 degrees.
Ms. Williams said service was moving briskly yesterday at the station, because all its inspectors were working. They were inspecting 89 cars per hour, up from the average of 68 cars per hour, she said.
As the current station is fully staffed and gas stations conduct reinspections, "I think you're going to see gradual improvement," said Mr. Bullock. "But you're still going to see a crush at the end of the month."

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