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Having a little fun at the DMV

Three times in the last five months, I have had the joy of a visit to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Near my birthday I had to go take the written test, which I aced, and then renewed my licensed. Unfortunately, in the course of our recent move my license has gone missing so I needed to get a replacement. In November, Fred had to renew his license.

On Monday, we paid another visit to DMV to replace my lost card and to get our licenses with our new address on it. This time we applied for the federally recognized, State of California “Real ID,” card.

In addition to serving as one’s driver’s license or identification card, the Real ID also allows the bearer to board commercial air flights, enter military bases, visit some federal facilities and to buy certain firearms.

There is no reason to rush to the DMV as all current CDLs and IDs are still valid until Oct. 1, 2020.

In order to qualify, applicants must provide documentation that includes their birth certificate, original Social Security Card and proof of residence. As a woman, I had to provide one additional piece of information, proof of my legal, current name, which in this case was a copy of my marriage license.

The fee for the Real ID is a little bit less than regular driver’s license fee, which is $33. The fee for the Real ID is $28. In spite of the fact that I had just had a new photo taken for the license when I renewed in October, the Real ID requires that applicants take a new photo. I also had to remove my glasses so they could get a clear shot without the glare of flash from the lenses

It is advisable to make an appointment before visiting the DMV. Even with an appointment, it will take two hours to wait through the line, take the test and complete the process. Just renewing or replacing one’s license without an appointment is three hours even with 14 windows operational.

The staff of the Madera DMV office is pleasant and helpful, even if they are horribly short-staffed.

When the customer reaches the front of the line, they are given a numbered ticket and advised to find a chair and wait for their number to be posted on an electronic board. The tickets include a letter and four numbers. They are not announced in either alpha or numeric order. The random numbers are fairly confusing. Finally, we got through the waiting process and they promised we should get our new cards in two to four weeks.

The offices of the DMV are very similar to doctors’ offices and hospital waiting rooms. Entire families including squealing children are playing and running around the DMV.

Are a part of our California DMV fees spent on repairing local roads? There are so many potholes and rough spots on the streets of Madera that it alters the wheel alignment on our cars. Bouncing up and down while trying to avoid the cracks in the streets is very frustrating.

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Have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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