Hours-long waits and traffic plague drive-up DMV services in Minnesota during pandemic

Cars were lined up throughout the day at the AAA in St. Louis Park.

These days, you can find of the biggest traffic jams not on the roads but at the DMV.

Because of the pandemic, some people are literally waiting hours in line.

"I got here at like 10:30 a.m. so I've been here for a few hours," one driver said.

They say good things come to those who wait. But judging from the cars wrapped around the parking lot at AAA in St. Louis Park on Friday, you'd think a pot of gold was waiting at the end of the line instead of new license tabs or a title transfer.

"I don't think it's appropriate for TV if this is going to be on the news for what I really think," another driver said.

"Just something to do. I'd be sitting at home watching TV so come down here, sit and wait," added another woman waiting in line.

With all driver's license offices closed until May 18 because of the governor's stay-at-home order, the Department of Public Safety says there are about 140 deputy agencies offering limited motor vehicle services scattered across the state.

But with limited options and each transaction taking at least ten minutes a car, wait times at the drive-up window are ranging anywhere from three to five hours.

"I've been told by some of the people who work here, there are people here at 5:30 waiting in line," said Meredith Terpstra of AAA Minneapolis. "We had someone here who was fourth in line that was here at 5:45 in the morning."

Walter Parker waited in line for nearly seven hours to renew his license tabs but he didn't seem to mind.

"Just business, I guess," he said. "This pandemic has changed everything. The whole world has changed. All you can do is be patient, get things done."

AAA says if you can renew your tabs online at the DMV's website, it's better than waiting in line. But title transfers and some tabs have to be renewed in person and, if that's the case, pack some patience.

"Mission accomplished," concluded Parker. "That's all I can say. keep smiling."