I'm disturbed by the recent changes in our local Drivers' Services office. After speaking with the folks on staff there, I've learned the following:
1. The temperature is controlled by the State (likely someone in Springfield), not by the people actually in the building.
2. Despite a high volume of people needing services, you've cut the staff available to serve them in about half.
3. Even though you always seem to have lots of folks needing to take driving tests, you have only ONE driving tester on duty.
4. Despite cutting the staff, you've implemented some programs that mean processing each person's paperwork takes about twice the time (up to 20 minutes for some).
None of these seem to be a good thing to me.
Here's how it impacts people.
1. The building was freezing on Wednesday. Everyone around me was complaining. When I talked to the staff, to see if maybe we could turn the air down, they told me they too were freezing. Freezing people are not at their optimum performance levels. EVER.
I get that part of the problem is the huge thing you installed in the ceiling that pulls in fresh air so that we don't all get carbon dioxide poisoning (the explanation your staff gave). That thing cannot be turned off. It aims cool air straight at the seated people waiting for their turn. This might be okay if the wait was short, but it's literally hours.
How hard can it be to divert the air so it doesn't blow right at us? And will it still be cold in the winter?
2. Obviously, with lower staff numbers, you can see fewer people in a day. Also, the people who are there wait longer. This creates a few problems.
a. by the end of the day, everyone who actually gets up to a counter will have been waiting for hours. They will be cranky. They will not be kind to your staff. This is hard on the staff.
b. by the end of the day, the staff will have dealt with dozens and dozens of unhappy people. They will have been bitched at repeatedly. This is bad for morale, and bad for their health. It also creates a situation in which they are likely to be less than helpful to the people they serve. (that can spiral to a bad place fast).
c. People waiting all day are not working. That means they're not earning money. That means they're not paying income tax -- which means that this slow down might actually cost more in income tax than it would take to pay another person or two. Just sayin.
3. Having only one driving tester creates a huge bottle neck. Each driving test takes 15-20 minutes. Even if we assume that our tester takes no breaks, never has to pee, and does not eat lunch, that means the BEST case scenario is that s/he will be able to test 40 people in a day (assuming hours of 8a to 6p, which is your "long" day). Reality probably means that s/he can see more like 35 on a really good day. When I was there on Wednesday, by 8:00 a.m. there were already 14 people in line who needed a driving test. You can imagine that by 10, there were another 14 people waiting. If our driving tester took lunch ... no one who showed up after 10:30 would have a chance to take their driving test! And we AVOIDED the "bad" days (Saturday, and Tuesday (since it's closed Monday).
Bear in mind, it's not just the 16 year olds after their first license. There are elderly people (after a certain age, one has to be tested each year to be sure you're still safe). There are the folks who have had one accident too many in the past few years. There are the folks moving from another state. And, sadly, the ones who need their licenses reinstated after some foolishness that we hope they're not going to repeat.
We were there for FOUR hours. (Again, not working, not earning, not paying taxes). Last year, the same process took an hour. Given waits like that, you'd think perhaps they could tell you, early in the process that it's likely to be x hours before you're seen. Nope. Not allowed. (Really Jesse? Really? you're not letting your staff warn people that they'll be trapped in that freezing room for FOUR hours?) We waited an hour and 15 minutes to see the guy who actually looked at our paperwork, has us sign things, and entered the information in the computer. He broke the rules to tell us it would be at least two more hours before we'd meet the tester.
Here's a thought. It would require a programmer to use software that has been developed dozens of times already... and I know, that's, well, employing someone. But why not let us schedule our tests? If I go online, and book myself for 8:00 a.m., I could come in, see a person right away, and then go straight in with the tester. If I'm late, I lose. Once I've taken 8:00, the next person who wants a test would be able to book for 8:15. etc. Or, if you really don't want that much advance stuff, why not let us come in, do the paper work, and then get a time we have to be back? Hell, give us a half hour wait... but four hours means that the waiting room becomes full -- there aren't enough CHAIRS.
And while we're at it, I'll bet that for some tests, a real live human isn't much better than a simulator. Sure, they're expensive, but they don't cost more than a human's salary, and next year they only cost electricity. Randomize who gets the machine for most folks, and use the human for cases that need them.
In short.... it wouldn't take a lot of thought to improve this situation even if you can't restore the full staff. I know driving is not a right, but it's become a privilege that is pretty much necessary for most folks to function in many communities. Even our wonderful little bus system is only good if you live in the right neighborhoods (we don't).
We voted for you. I'm tempted to campaign against you.