- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2002

The line for the District's DMV service center in Southwest stretched four blocks yesterday as residents endured hourlong waits to get their vehicles inspected.
More than 60 cars sat in line to reach the Department of Motor Vehicles inspection station at any given time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Most of the residents were either past due on their inspections or close to having expired stickers.
"I've been in line for an hour and I've never seen it like this before," said Warren Randall, 32, who was having his 1999 Nissan Pathfinder inspected for the first time.
D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Regina Williams said long lines after a midweek holiday should be expected. And the volume of customers was likely higher because poor air quality prompted the DMV to shut down the station at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
"People are off work today and want to get their cars inspected when it is convenient," Miss Williams said.
Though the inspection station was operating at capacity, cars snaked from the entrance of the station on Half Street SW around the corner on I Street to the middle of Delaware Avenue.
Vehicles slowly rolled forward, waiting for an attendant in front of the station to tell them to pull into the inspection lines, where they would wait another 25 minutes before reaching the inspection docks.
Bereket Gizaw was still 10 cars back after waiting in line for 50 minutes.
"I didn't wait this long two years ago. In fact, there was no line," he said.
Some customers took the delays in stride.
"I've been waiting for 40 minutes, but I can't say I'm upset," said Eric Gilliam, 42, who had the day off.
Mr. Gilliam, who lives in Ward 6, said he shouldn't have waited as long as he did to get his car inspected.
Northwest resident Carol Schaub, whose sticker expired yesterday, said she had her car inspected last year and shouldn't have had to come back until 2003.
"I think they made a mistake," she said, "but what choice do I have?"
Mrs. Schaub left without a new sticker, deciding she didn't want to wait.
She and others who have their vehicles checked for safety and emissions after the inspection sticker expires will be charged a $15 late fee. An additional fine will be assessed every month thereafter, Miss Williams said.
Others whose cars failed the first time were in line again yesterday hoping they would pass the second time around.
"I waited for an hour and a half the first time and now I have been here for 30 minutes," said Tara Cozzarelli, 23, who was 20 cars back at that point.
But customers wanting reinspections may get some relief next month. By Aug. 5, the DMV is expected to have computers installed in 14 gas stations around the city that will handle reinspections. Miss Williams said the gas stations will perform safety inspections only, not emissions.
"If you fail, you get 20 days to get it repaired and reinspected. If you come back late you have to go through the reinspection process all over again from scratch," she said.

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