Some tag agencies in Tulsa have run into snags trying to get REAL ID’s out to customers quickly, as employees said the new computer system has slowed down the process.
Barnes Tag Agency General Manager Mark Randell calls the situation a "nightmare." He said they started issuing REAL ID's about two weeks ago. On the third day, he said the system already needed an update.
“It was down for five hours. And it's just one day after another,” Randell said.
Employees also said sometimes the new printer does not function.
Jay Weinheimer and his wife came in to get their REAL ID's Monday.
"They're handling it extremely professionally and really, we're pretty impressed with the process. You just have to be a little patient,” Weinheimer said.
He said after waiting in line the process took about 20 minutes.
At Central Tag Agency in midtown, it's a similar story.
“It’s been chaotic,” Owner Anne Jones said.
Jones said the new computer system is slowing down the process of getting a license by about 15 minutes. An employee said just last Thursday the computer only worked for three hours.
"It basically crashes and then it won't let us do anything,” Jones said.
Jones is encouraging people to go to rural communities, where they don't have the new equipment, for faster results.
The state said not everyone needs a REAL ID. Some people are trying to update an expired license with what's called a "non-compliant" card, but tag agency employees said it's all done on the same, new computer system.
TSA will require a REAL ID, passport or military ID in order for a person to board a domestic flight beginning October 1, 2021.
Randell has this message for anyone wondering if it's worth waiting in line right now.
"Don't be in a hurry to get it if you don't need it,” Randell said.
The Department of Public Safety said it's not surprised by the issues that come with a new computer system and does expect things to get smoother.
Both Barnes Tag Agency and Central Tag Agency are asking customers looking for new licenses to make an appointment first.
DPS issued the following statement on the matter:
“The issuance of REAL IDs involves a brand new computer system for all DPS and tag agent employees. DPS has been diligently training and assisting tag agents with the new process and the DPS help desk is working to solve issues if and when they crop up. But as with all new systems, there is a learning curve and we have intermittently encountered problems. We expect the process to become smoother and more streamlined the longer agencies are issuing the REAL IDs. We appreciate the patience of both our partners and the citizens of Oklahoma as we implement REAL ID for our state.”