Sep. 9—INDIANAPOLIS — Madison County residents may have noticed they have two fewer places, at least temporarily, to renew their driver's licenses and license plates.
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced the branches in Alexandria and Pendleton will remain closed until Oct. 2. The newly remodeled branch in Anderson will remain open. They are among 11 branches throughout the state that have been closed temporarily.
Christine Meyer, BMV director of Communications and Public Affairs, said the move was necessary because of a shortage of staff caused by COVID-19, attrition and promotions. She said on any given day, the BMV has as many as 70 positions open and an equal number who are absent because of illness or other time off
"About 50% of the staffing situation iis COVID-related," she said.
Employees from the affected branches have been moved to other larger full-service branches, such as the one in Anderson, Meyer said.
The wait times for services should not be negatively affected, she said. However, to ensure faster service, Meyer recommended visiting on a Thursday rather than on a Tuesday and in the afternoon rather than the morning to beat the crowds.
"In fact, we actually have been seeing some reduced wait times because we have been able to fully staff branches rather than have shortages throughout the state," she said. "We have seen some improvement in the wait time just in a couple of days."
Meyer said she believes this is the first time the BMV has had to temporarily consolidate its operations in this way. She said while there were closures early in the pandemic, BMV officials did not want to continue to inconvenience Hoosiers with sporadic closures similar to what other industries are facing.
"We wanted to find a way that was more consistent and provide a better customer service experience."
Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.