Adventures in PennDOT

Renewed license

After two and a half hours and several back and forths, I now hold in my hand my renewed Pennsylvania driver’s license.

The adventure started several weeks ago, when I sent in my renewal application form online with my payment of $26 (plus an extra $1 for Organ Donor Awareness). PennDOT promptly sent me the camera card to get my new ID, and I promptly lost it.

Today: adventures.

I walk into the PennDOT office and ask information what to do. The guy hands me a new form and tells me it’ll cost an extra $5 (since I lost the camera card) and I need a check or money order. PennDOT will not accept cash or credit/debit cards. I’m searching through my purse but apparently the day I need it is the day I leave my checkbook at home. Sounding like he’s said the same line over and over today, the guy informs me that CVS has money orders.

I wait in line at CVS for a while, and when it’s finally my turn I’m told that to buy a money order you have to pay in cash—you cannot even use your debit card, and I was unaware of this! Unfortunately, there is only $5.50 in my purse, and the $5 money order costs $0.99. The cashier is very annoyed that she needs to void the sale, and I embarrassingly leave the store.

PNC (my bank) is directly across the street, but instead of waiting to use the ATM and waiting back in line at CVS, I inquire about money orders there. Interestingly, PNC changes $5 for a money order. Ouch! However, the teller, realizing I’m trying to pay for something at the DMV, tells me I can order a counter check from customer service, since that only costs $1.50. Woohoo, savings!

(Now, at this point, I could have dropped the adventure and waited until I brought a check from home, but after all that I am determined to get this ID renewed today!)

Back at PennDOT, I get my number in line: 621. They are currently on something in the 940s. My estimated wait time, according to my ticket, is over an hour and half. Luckily, the info girl tells me that I am allowed to leave and come back, as long as I don’t miss my number. Miss it, forfeit, get a new one… and the wait begins again. I run back to my office for a little while, then back to PennDOT again. By this time we’re at 603!

Once I’m done and I have my new camera card, the wait for the actual photo is a lot quicker. So quick, in fact, that the guy calls my number before the girl’s even finished handing me the ticket. Sit here, look here, CLICK.

And done.

2 Comments so far

  1. Joe Smith (aaronproctor) on November 9th, 2008 @ 5:06 pm

    That’s fascinating, considering I’ve always noticed that when the government wants something from you, they don’t waste their time – but when you need something from them, it’s going to take a very long time to get it.

  2. Andrea Piernock (andreapiernock) on November 9th, 2008 @ 11:27 pm

    I’m so used to doing everything online that I forget what a hassle dealing with things are. With so many things available on the internet, I’m still amazed at the amount of people willing to deal with the hassle… and then complain about it, almost like I did above, actually.

    Oh, and I did witness a few interactions that could have taken place on Parking Wars if you replaced PPA with PennDOT. Some people will cause a stink about anything, even when it’s not the other guy’s fault.

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