MVA will allow registration on Internet Vehicle renewal is another effort to reduce long lines

September 19, 1997|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

In yet another step away from long lines at the counter, the state Motor Vehicle Administration expects to begin license tag renewal via the Internet early next year.

The Internet plans were announced yesterday by MVA Deputy Administrator William J. Long in a meeting at Baltimore City Hall on transportation projects. They would be implemented by March and allow vehicle owners to renew their tags without leaving their homes.

Transportation officials also said a site is being sought for a Maryland Rail Commuter station in East or Southeast Baltimore.

"We are doing a study right now and trying to identify a site," said Harvey Flechner, the Mass Transit Administration's director planning and programming, adding that 10 to 12 sites are under consideration in the Bayview area along the Penn Line from Edison Highway to North Point Boulevard near the Harbor )) Tunnel Thruway.

By the beginning of next year, Flechner said, he hopes to narrow the number of possible sites to five. He said that one of the factors would be the ability of a station to provide a positive presence in the community.

"The idea would be to not only look at the transportation aspect, but also the compatibility aspect," he said.

The MVA's deputy administrator said the agency has been working on the Internet idea for six months, following the lead of other states.

Earlier this year, the MVA opened kiosks in nearly a dozen shopping malls, equipped for self-service computerized tag renewals. Users can type in license tag and title information, and add driver's license or Social Security numbers to confirm identity in making the remote transaction -- and paying by credit card.

Using the Internet, vehicle owners could call up the MVA Web site on a computer at home -- or at such places as public libraries or work -- and go through a similar procedure, Long said.

The agency has taken a number of steps over the years to reduce waiting time at its offices, including the introduction of staggered tag expiration dates and the opening of satellite offices at nearly two dozen sites across Maryland.

Long said the average wait for customers is about 25 minutes, although it is not unusual to encounter a two-hour wait at larger centers such as the one at Mondawmin Mall in Baltimore.

With renewal by Internet, the application would be processed overnight and tag stickers and registration cards mailed the next business day. "We could guarantee delivery within a week, if the Postal Service cooperated," Long said.

Those at the meeting also included Maryland Transportation Secretary David L. Winstead and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

Pub Date: 9/19/97

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