GARLAND, Texas — You know what’s the worst? Waiting in line at the driver's license office.
Over here, at Verify HQ, I’ve gotten a few questions asking which locations have the longest wait times in North Texas. And I've got the answer.
I learned that the state keeps separate wait-time records for new licenses — which generally take longer to process — and renewals, which are a little faster. For the sake of this story, I'm averaging those two numbers together.
And what immediately jumps out is that seven out of the 10 worst combined-wait times are in North Texas. Here they are:
- Lake Worth: 1 hour, 45 minuted
- Hurst: 1 hour, 47 minutes
- Dallas-South: 1 hour, 55 minutes
- Carrollton: 2 hours, 2 minutes
- Plano: 2 hours, 11 minutes
- Garland: 2 hours, 11 minutes
- Fort Worth: 2 hours, 12 minutes
- Grand Prairie: 2 hours, 17 minutes
The state guidelines say a customer should wait no longer than 30 minutes for a renewal, and 45 minutes for a new license. Grand Prairie has the longest waits in the state and, on average, they miss their on-time targets 86 percent of the time.
What's going on? A state review of DPS concluded the driver license program has "not been administered well." The head of DPS told lawmakers that offices are understaffed and in need of $230 million more in funding.
While it’s not clear how, or if, the state will improve wait times, I can tell which North Texas locations have the shortest average waits:
- Waxahachie: 1 hour, 5 minutes
- McKinney: 1 hour, 1 minute
- Lewisville: 57 minutes
What’s the fastest in the state? Paris, in East Texas, has a combined average wait time of 19 minutes.
So, when it comes to wait times, that's the long and short of it.
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