Honolulu working on easing months-long backlog at licensing centers

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hundreds of thousands of Oahu residents need to get their driver’s license and other documents renewed in 2021.

The City and County of Honolulu is urging people to book their appointments as soon as possible if their state ID or driver’s license expires in the coming months, although Gov. David Ige extended the deadline for expired licenses until Tuesday, June 8.

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The City says about 90,000 expired licenses and state IDs rolled over into 2021 and about 30,000 have since been renewed, leaving 60,000 more to go.

“The challenge, of course, is there are driver licenses and state IDs expiring this year, too and that’s where the backlog comes from,” explained Nola Miyasaki, Honolulu’s director of Customer Services.

Miyasaki said, there are roughly 140,000 more licenses set to expire before December 31, 2021.

“We’re rolling to the 200,000 number, which is more than twice the number that we’re normally equipped to process,” she said.

There are about 60,000 other residents whose licenses and IDs are still good, but need the star in the gold circle, or Real ID, to be able to travel before October 2021.

“My advice to people is not to wait to the last minute because that’s where we get a lot of calls and people that get stuck because they’re too close to the expiration date, and they can’t get an appointment on AlohaQ,” Miyasaki added.

She said the City is working hard to help ease the backlog, despite limited staff and COVID-19 Tier 3 restrictions.

“We have now gone to express lanes at all the Satellite City Halls for certain transactions like paying your bills, getting a bus pass and that kind of thing,” she said.

She added that they are working on opening as many appointments as possible so people who need to renew, transfer or duplicate can do so.

“We are planning to open a cancellation queue line at the biggest three driver license locations, and that cancellation queue will be designed to fill in the no show slots,” she said.

Miyasaki said, some locations report 30% of appointments are no-shows and hopes the cancellation queue can begin in a few weeks.

People whose cards are set to expire within three months can try and make an appointment on AlohaQ.

People who need the Real ID cannot make an appointment just yet and have to utilize the cancellation line once it opens up.

She advises people to check AlohaQ frequently, especially in the early evening hours to see if appointments open up.

She said the wait time is down to one month for motor vehicle appointments but encourages people to use the Department of Motor Vehicle kiosks located across the island or mail-in their renewal.

“We are aiming to reduce the backlog by the end of the year, that’s our goal,” Miyasaki added.

She said the City was also considering extended hours but that has not yet been finalized.

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