If there's a hell on Earth, we're pretty sure it's the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Not only does a simple license/registration errand eat up the better part of an afternoon, but a cacophony of cranky employees and crankier babies makes it the worst afternoon you ever got off work. Anything — anything — is better than sitting in one of the DMV's kindergarten chairs, clutching your DMV number and staring up at the DMV tele-waitlist for three hours, waiting to fill out three minutes of paperwork. That is, when the place is open at all.

But there's good news!

You know those self-checking machines currently taking over the nation's airports? So it appears the DMV took a hint and installed a few of their own. The capabilities of the “Self Service Terminals” will be limited — “At this point, you can only renew your registration,” says a DMV rep — but the department has high hopes that one small function might alleviate lines for the rest of us. (Sprucing up the waiting room with something not from the '90s won't hurt the DMV experience either.)

Here are the lucky kiosk locations throughout Los Angeles County:

  • Arleta: 14400 Van Nuys Blvd.
  • Bell Gardens: 6802 S. Garfield
  • Compton: 2111 S. Santa Fe Ave.
  • Culver City: 11400 W. Washington Blvd.
  • Glendale: 1335 W. Glenoaks Blvd
  • Inglewood: 621 N. La Brea Ave.
  • Lancaster: 1110 W. Ave.
  • Los Angeles: 3615 S. Hope St.
  • Montebello: 424 N. Wilcox Ave
  • Newhall: 24427 Newhall Ave
  • Torrance: 1785 W. 220th St.
  • W. Hollywood: 936 N. Formosa Ave.
  • Winnetka: 20725 Sherman Way

For a full list of kiosks in Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Orange Counties, see the DMV website.

Hey there, good lookin': Fashion meets function at the DMV; Credit: California Department of Motor Vehicles

Hey there, good lookin': Fashion meets function at the DMV; Credit: California Department of Motor Vehicles

DMV Director George Valverde is beaming with pride over his new babies in today's press release:

“Our Internet registration renewal option is very popular and used by more than 15,000 people daily. These machines bring that same connectivity to customers who do not have access to the Internet, need registration immediately, or need to use cash,” said [Valverde]. “Our customers will leave holding their new registration and sticker without an appointment and without waiting in line.”

Hm. This R2D2 doppelganger is sounding less and less cool by the minute. (The DMV rep says he's not sure how much the robot army costed in total, but will get back to us on that. Update: The machine company will get $3.75 for every successful transaction, and payment cannot go over $2.7 million in two years.) Might we suggest incorporating an air-freshener dispenser or surprise “Hot Wheels” freebies to placate the crying babies? You know, as long as those clunkers are taking up what looks to be a cubic meter of valuable wait space.

As exciting a tutorial as we could expect from the depths of hell:


LA Weekly