Some complaints with Kentucky driver’s license offices

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Like most government services, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has made policy and procedure changes so customers and staff can be safe during the pandemic.

However, WTVQ has received a number of complaints from people trying to renew their driver’s license, or get a Real ID, about having to stand in long lines in bad weather, appointment times not being honored, and more.

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Lexingtonian Michael Watkins says the state needs to make some changes.

“I just feel like that there should be some better organization,” says Watkins.

Watkins and his husband, Scott Walker, say they scheduled appointments for September 28 to get Real ID’s from Lexington’s only driver’s license office two months in advance.

“Mine was at 12:40,” says Watkins. “We go out. I get up there. You don’t really understand, there are two lines, but there are no signs up.”

One line is for walk-ups, and the other for people with appointments. However, Watkins says the real problems began when Walker got in line for his appointment.

“It had started raining, and so he goes up there,” says Watkins. “They don’t move anybody inside. It’s chilly that day.”

We took the complaints to the transportation cabinet. A spokesperson says people with appointments are asked to check-in and wait in their cars until their scheduled time.

Watkins says neither he, nor anyone else, was offered that option, and because he felt the line was unorganized, he says he wouldn’t have gone back to his car.

“If I sit in the car, and I have an appointment, but then a walk-in goes up there, do they get seen before me?”

Walker says that uncertainty is warranted.

He says he got in line 20 minutes before his 1:20 p.m. appointment that day and says a woman in line before him, whose appointment wasn’t until 1:40 p.m., let him stand in front of her.

Walker says when an employee noticed the switch, the woman was told she shouldn’t have done that because it’s first come, first serve.

“There just has to be a better system,” says Watkins.

Someone in our own newsroom visited the Frankfort office on October 9. They were told everyone was required to wait outside, and didn’t have the option to go to their cars and get out of the weather.

After some time with no line movement, everyone was told that most of the office’s employees had gone to lunch at the same time, leading to the delay and long wait.

WTVQ  asked the cabinet about that scheduling situation and were told all offices are still following ‘Healthy at Work’ guidelines and are not fully staffed.

The state recommends using mail-in license renewal, if eligible.

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Bobbi McSwine joined the ABC 36 News Team in March 2020. She started as a Web Content Producer in November 2019. She was born and raised in Chicago, IL, known to many as the “Windy City.” She studied journalism at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. While in school, she had a number of internships ranging from Free Spirit Media, ABC 7 Chicago and Illinois Public Media. She fell in love with writing in high school and paired that with a newfound passion for storytelling in college. She misses her hometown, but she loves the horses and rich history in Lexington. When she’s not working, she’s probably listening to music or binge-watching Netflix. She’s always looking to get to know more people in Central Kentucky, so feel free to shoot her a message on Facebook @BobbiWTVQ, follow her on Twitter @McSwineB_News, or send her an email at bmcswine@wtvq.com.