NEW ORLEANS - Following our Fox 8 Investigation, big changes are under way for the Office of Motor Vehicles on Veterans Boulevard.
Commissioner Stephen Campbell said customers were treated unfairly when his employees broke the rules. Now, the branch manager is stepping down, and the office is becoming more efficient.
"This is the fastest DMV we've ever gone to. Like 45 minutes," said customer Tricia Wright.
Thursday, the OMV was quiet at 4 p.m. Just a few people left at a time. Compare that to the stampede a few months ago.
"I had one number, and they put me out. I was next. The next number and they put me out. That is God awful," said an aggravated customer, Davion Lewis, on August 28.
In August, customers at the Office of Motor Vehicles on Veterans Boulevard regularly left outraged after waiting in line and not being seen.
At first, OMV Commissioner Stephen Campbell didn't believe it.
"I would tell you that people didn't tell you the truth. I would tell you that, and that's all I can say to you. I don't want to call anybody a liar, but this is the best system that we have," Campbell said in August.
Through our investigation, we learned that the manager of the Veterans Boulevard branch was kicking out customers at 4:30 p.m. no matter how long they had waited.
And she wasn't telling her bosses she was doing it.
"That did occur. It most assuredly occurred," Campbell said. "I apologize if any viewer thought I was trying to cover up something, I certainly wasn't. We had asked the day before the interview and were told by the manager that that was not going on. We determined that that wasn't truthful."
It wasn't until the commissioner saw FOX 8 News footage that he realized it was time for major changes. Campbell said the manager voluntarily demoted herself and is moving to another office.
With a new manager in place, no one is being kicked out without being helped.
"That, as I mentioned earlier, was not our policy, and we have of course corrected that. Our new manager there is fully aware of that, and if you're in line by 4 p.m. at the office, you will be served," Campbell said.
Campbell said they've made other back-office changes that should improve efficiency. For one, customers can now schedule a time for their or their teen's driver's test.
Also, other locations will be opening and moving. These changes should lighten the customer load at the Veterans Boulevard location:
- On Jan. 2, a new express office will open at Bullard Avenue and Morrison Road in New Orleans East
- The Chalmette office recently moved to a bigger location on Jean Lafitte Boulevard
- A Westbank office will expand in Algiers
- The Harvey office will move to Gretna
Campbell told us he's still waiting for the state to approve the ability to use credit cards at motor vehicle locations so he can install a kiosk at the Veteran's boulevard branch. It would be the first of its kind in the state, and would be able to complete simple transactions.
But you don't need a kiosk to see customers are happier already.
"This is the first time I have ever come out this fast. No problem whatsoever. 20 minutes!" said customer Marina O'Conner on Thursday.
Customers Jacob Sullivan and Jesse McKinnon said they waited, "about 30 minutes."