- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Department of Motor Vehicles customers waited in long lines that stretched outside Tuesday, the first day that branch offices have been fully operational since a one-week partial shutdown.

Branches were mostly closed last week, providing only license-related services, so the agency could complete a major computer system upgrade.

Offices resumed registration-related services Tuesday. But even though DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala Jr. had warned of the pent-up demand for services and repeatedly urged people to wait a couple weeks before showing up, many arrived in the early morning hours. The line wrapped around the Wethersfield branch office and through the parking lot at the branch in Hamden. Some people brought lawn chairs.

Ayala urged customers to be patient and reminded them of a 60-day extension on expiration dates for all driver’s licenses, ID cards and vehicle registrations. The extension is in effect through Oct. 10.

“If you don’t have an immediate need to be at DMV, we urge you to stay away,” he said.

The DMV was able to offer its upgraded online services a few days early, over the weekend. The improvements affect registration-related services, including enhancements to online renewals. Customers can also check for items that can hold up a registration renewal, such as unpaid property taxes, lack of insurance and delinquent parking violations.

Additionally, customers can now use the website to also reprint a registration certificate and order special license plates and replacements for damaged license plates.

Ayala said the new system was working well Tuesday except for “minor glitches.” He said some license plate cancellations didn’t transfer over to the new system, some dealerships needed to be brought online and DMV’s website capacity to handle the flood of users had to be increased.

Ayala said he didn’t know how long it would take for the lines at the branches to get smaller, adding that it could take a couple weeks or even a couple months.

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