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As parking enforcement resumes in DC, residents scramble to find DMV appointments

DC DMV is currently not allowing walk-ins still as part of safety protocols implemented at the start of the pandemic.

WASHINGTON — As the District restarts full parking enforcement this week, residents have been scrambling to find available DMV appointments. 

After a 14-month hiatus due to the pandemic, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that ticketing wound resume again, including for expired parking meters, expired residential parking permits and expired vehicle tags. Vehicles must also display valid registration stickers. 

However, the DMV currently doesn't allow walk-ins as part of safety protocols and spots must be reserved online. 

The process has been frustrating for Southeast resident Jerome Davis, who waited a month for his appointment at the Georgetown Service Center. He was turned away because he claims he didn't have the right doctor's note for his glasses. Having to find another appointment would mean he couldn't drive his car. 

"I need to get my tags, I need to get my registration and I need to get my license," Davis told WUSA9. "I wish they could so something about that because I thought they were giving us some room to get things together, that's why I came back a second time."

Davis said his son had to help him find the appointment. He worries how long it could take him to find the next opening. 

Residents have until July 1 before enforcement for expired driver licenses will resume, according to the city. 

The mayor announced the plans weeks in advance, which gave drivers like Ahmed Mohamed some time to find an appointment. As a new resident who moved from Virginia, Mohamed said it was still a struggle to even find a reservation. 

"It was still hectic trying to find it in the first place," he said. "I can understand they need to make money again but it feels like an arbitrary decision to start it now especially when it's so hard to get appointments."

Meanwhile, other people hope the city will transition back to walk-ins as many businesses have reopened. 

Councilwoman Christina Henderson has been posting available appointments for the past two months. While she understands that residents are frustrated, Henderson told WUSA9 that the appointment system is designed to protect the health of not only residents but the staff who works at the DMV. 

"In my experience of helping residents find appointments and periodically posting about availability for almost two months now, DC DMV has added a lot more appointments to the system," Henderson said in a statement. "The DMV adds appointments to the system on Tuesdays. I encourage residents to check all locations – Benning Ridge and Deanwood typically have more availability than the Georgetown or Rhode Island Ave locations."

Most appointments are booked two to three weeks out at this point and there are vehicle and ID services that can be handled online, Henderson added. 

WUSA9 has reached out to a DMV spokesperson Thursday afternoon. Here is what they said:

DC DMV registration and RPP renewals are only offered online, through the agency’s free Mobile App and by mail—not in-person. All residents who renew online or via the DC DMV App will instantly receive a temporary registration and RPP (if applicable) that can be displayed in their vehicles until their permanent registration arrives in the mail. Additionally, the Inspection Station has operated on a first-come, first-serve basis since June 23, 2020; no appointments are necessary. For the smaller group of residents who require in-person services, DC DMV continues to release approximately 6,000 new appointments each week to the public. Additional appointments are released on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. as well as most days throughout the week. 

While enforcement for expired driver licenses and ID cards restarts July 1, 2021, residents who currently have a REAL ID credential (black star in upper right corner) may renew online or through DC DMV’s mobile app. DC DMV will continue to offer more appointments and other options to ensure all residents have an opportunity to be in compliance prior to the July 1 deadline.

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