- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 23, 2002

D.C. residents are lamenting the imminent reduction of operating hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles, which they say has been providing adequate service.

"The hours [of operation] aren't really important to me right now, but I think it's sad they have to cut back because the place is working fairly well," said Josh Prousten, 29, who was registering his car this week at the DMV office at the Municipal Center.

City officials announced last week that hours of operation at the DMV will be reduced to help reduce the District's $323 million budget deficit.

Beginning Dec. 2, the DMV will scale back to a five-day-per-week operation, instead of keeping satellite offices open six days a week. The D.C. vehicle-inspection station on Half Street SW will not be affected.

The Brentwood and Georgetown Park DMV offices will be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the Penn Branch office will be open Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and the Municipal Center office will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"I know the DMV is experiencing budget cuts, but for people who work, it's good to have at least one branch open on Saturdays," said Brendan Bell, 22, of Northwest, who was picking up new license plates this week.

DMV officials said next Saturday will be the final day for weekend operations of the branch at the Shops at Georgetown Park in Northwest. Residents can skip the trip to DMV for car registration, driver's license renewals or other transactions by using its Web site, dmv.washingtondc.gov/serv/online.shtm.

Louise Staley, 58, a retired Metro employee, zipped in and out of the Municipal Center office in 20 minutes this week. She said she had come to get her license plates, but a ticket she paid a year or so ago showed up on her record. Fortunately, her father kept the receipt issued by the agency so the visit wasn't too painful, she said.

"So many people who work cannot come down here during the week. An hour [standing] in this line, an hour [standing] in another line. We need all of the services. They need to keep either late night hours or Saturday hours at least at one location," said Ms. Staley, who lives in Northwest.

DMV spokeswoman Regina Williams said her agency wants to be sensitive to residents' need for weekend hours. So the C Street location at the Municipal Center will be open Saturdays. She said DMV officials also considered Metro accessibility and which facilities offer expanded services.

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