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Oct. 14—Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says he wants to make people's lives easier, and that includes avoiding notorious long lines at the BMV.
On Wednesday, Husted announced at Meijer in Fairfield the latest way Ohioans can avoid having to go into a bureau of motor vehicles location. At nine locations across the state, including at the Meijer in Huber Heights, Ohio rolled out the Ohio BMV Express kiosk, which will allow motorists to renew and print vehicle registration and registration stickers for license plates.
"Aspirationally speaking, I don't want you ever to have to go into the BMV ever again," Husted said.
The kiosks are the latest partnership between the Ohio BMV and InnovateOhio, the organization developed by the DeWine Administration and Husted heads.
"Since the beginning of our administration, Gov. (Mike) DeWine and I have made the goal of InnovateOhio to improve the way we serve our customers, the people of the state of Ohio, to make things less costly and more convenient," Husted said.
Kiosks will also be included at Maumee and Findlay and Meijer locations, two deputy registrar offices in Columbus and one location in Medina. The other kiosks are at Rhodes Tower Lobby in Columbus and Riesbeck's Food Mart in Zanesville.
Husted said jobs are not in jeopardy at the BMV with this technology.
"It's just going to replace the in-person convenience of that, where you don't have to go see them but you can see them from your homes," he said. "They're still going to have to be doing work behind the scenes. It should have minimal impact on jobs."
The nine spots around the state are introductory locations, officials said, and as the usage of the kiosks increases additional locations will be assessed.
"The more people that use them, the more we'll deploy them," said Husted. "It has to make economic sense. Where there's demand, we will try to supply that demand."
Ohio BMV Registrar Charlie Norman said better customer service by using technology has been a primary focus for the DeWine Administration, and his agency's initiatives "have primarily fallen under the categories of streamlining the in-person experience and expanding online services."
Even though the kiosks just rolled out, Norman said there are plans for additional high-volume services to be added, "and (we) expect to have new offerings very shortly."
Meijer Regional Vice President Tom Wilson said "it's a great opportunity" to help the grocery store's customers "and it helps our neighbors get back in time to their busy days."
"As we've previously seen in having this technology in stores across Michigan, these kiosks provide a great opportunity for our customers to enjoy another level of one-stop shopping at Meijer, helping them save time during their busy days," Wilson said.
The kiosks, which are made by Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Intellectual Technology, are the latest feature for the Ohio BMV since the DeWine Administration created InnovateOhio to use technology to make things more convenient for citizens, Husted said.
"People are busy," the lieutenant governor said. "They have to work, they have to run kids to practice, they may be a caregiver for somebody at home. They don't have to go to the BMV. ... They have this convenient option now to save them time."
Other Ohio BMV-InnovateOhio collaborations include: — In 2019, the "Get In Line, Online" feature where Ohioans can reserve their spot in line at the BMV before leaving their home. While wait times were shorter, only 11 percent have used the service. The program won the Customer Convenience Award from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. — In March, the BMV launched its "vastly improved, more user-friendly" website, Husted said. This provided a streamlined experience and allowed Ohioans to create driver profiles and update information. — Last week, the BMV announced motorists can request via the website a reprint of their driver's license. Previously, motorists would have to get a renewal and at the BMV. A half-million people annually go through the renewal process to replace a lost or stolen driver's license.
Husted said they've focused a lot of efforts on improving the BMV experience because "it touches almost everybody's life." The lieutenant governor said while people don't use the BMV's services every day, "the BMV has been a source of frustration for them.."
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