New License Renewal Kiosk Cuts Down Wait
Brady Smith, Anchor/Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Cedar Rapids' Driver's License Station is the second busiest in the state, according to supervisor Lisa Hennessey. She says about 500 people come through the door every day, many of them to renew their expired or expiring driver's license. But this station is testing out a new license renewal kiosk that can cut an hour wait at the station down to a few minutes.
"It depends on the day," Hennessey said. "It depends on what we have going for staffing. This summer we've had a couple hour wait, and that's what people think about."
That's what this kiosk is designed to eliminate.
The driver's license stations in Ankeny and Davenport have the other three kiosks to test them out.
"It talks you through the whole thing, so it's very easy, very user-friendly," said Hennessey, showing us how it works.
You walk up, follow the on-screen instructions, scan your old license, get your picture taken, and then grab your receipt and pay at the counter. Your new license is mailed to you.
Marc Hildebrand appreciated how much time it saved him. "I think it works well. It alleviates half the line."
The same goes for Matt Alles, who came here on his lunch break. "It's nice. I came in thinking I was going to be here an hour, so I brought a book to read."
But the technology isn't quite perfect. The the kiosk has facial recognition software under the hood, meaning some people may get tripped up when it's time for the photo. If your old photo looks drastically different from your old one, or the dimensions of your face have changed, it may not let you renew.
One woman we watched had to do retake after retake, before finally being told that she had to grab a ticket and wait for a human to help her, the old-fashioned way.
The kiosks still run through all of the National Driving Registry checks that you normally have to go through, so you may get denied a renewal if something in your profile isn't valid. The machines cost about $50,000 a piece, with an additional $275,000 in programming and other costs. That's paid for by driver's license issuance fees. Hennessey said the goal is to get them out around malls and public areas eventually and equip them with credit card readers, so you don't have to visit the license station.
Iowans can renew their Driver License of Identification Card at a kiosk if:
• They have a valid Iowa driver license or ID card (not a commercial driver license)
• They are at least 18, but younger than 70 yrs old
• Their license or ID card has not been expired more than one year
• It is less than 180 days to the renewal date on their current license or ID card
• They are a U.S. Citizen
• They do not have any medical or vision conditions that would impact their ability to drive
• They do not need to change the address or name printed on their license or ID card
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