I-Team: Bumps In The Road For State’s New Vehicle Inspection Program

BOSTON (CBS) – It was a frustrating day for some drivers trying to get new inspection stickers on their cars.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) launched a new statewide program, but inspection station owners are reporting a lot of bumps in the road. As a result, they had to turn customers away on Monday and lose the revenue.

“It’s not fair for the customer and it’s not for us, either,” said Edwin Sola, a manager at Good Gas in Somerville.

Sola’s new inspection system is still covered in bubble wrap. He had expected the vendor running the program to come in over the weekend to hook everything up, but he said the anticipated call never came.

inspection I Team: Bumps In The Road For State’s New Vehicle Inspection Program

New vehicle inspection software (WBZ-TV)

“It seems very poorly planned. They should have started ahead of time and had more personnel to do it,” Sola said.

At Mackenzie Motors in Brighton, the owner had turned away 20 customers by lunch time.

“It’s frustrating. We’re trying to make a living!” Ken Mackenzie told WBZ.

The inspection station owner said he attended training and spent about $8,000 to purchase all the required technology, including software, handheld cameras and facial recognition. The new program will eventually implement video monitoring in January in an effort to improve inspection quality and cut down on fraud.

However, Mackenzie also said he had expected the vendor awarded the state contract, Applus Technologies, to get his system online. Mackenzie said he even would have been willing to to come in on Sunday if necessary.

inspection2 I Team: Bumps In The Road For State’s New Vehicle Inspection Program

Vehicle inspection station (WBZ-TV)

“I guess they are pretty much overloaded or backed up. We have haven’t heard anything, so right now we are just wait and see,” Mackenzie expressed.

The WBZ I-Team contacted 30 stations from around the Boston area. Twenty of those businesses reported having problems with the new system. The communities included: Cambridge, Westwood, Lexington, Watertown, Waltham, Billerica, Bedford, Framingham and Newburyport.

One business owner in Melrose lamented that he lost roughly $1,000 in inspection revenue.

After being turned away in Somerville, Lizette Figuerredo said she would continue hunting for a location where she could secure an inspection. The driver hoped she did not get a citation for an expired sticker along the way.

“I guess I will have to shop around. I am not happy at all,” Figuerredo said.

When WBZ shared the details with the RMV, a spokeswoman insisted the transition was “running smoothly.”

A press release sent out on Monday announced the system was “operational across the Commonwealth and all service stations which completed their obligations for installing the new equipment and participating in training are now conducting public vehicle inspections.”

When asked about the problems being reported by station owners, an RMV spokeswoman urged them to “look through training materials or call the hotline.” The RMV said Applus Technologies had a team of people available to answer calls and support stations.

Requirements for motor vehicles to pass the annual safety and emissions inspection have not changed. The cost will still be $35 to drivers.

“There are headaches with it,” Mackenzie said. “I’m confident they’ll take care of it, but it’s probably going to take some time. It won’t happen overnight.”

Ryan Kath can be reached at rkath@cbs.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports

More from Ryan Kath
Comments

One Comment

  1. The system is not running smoothly. I tried to get a sticker at two stations today and both of them said the whole system was down throughout the state.

  2. John Leazott says:

    It’s Massachusetts, should we expect anything different?

  3. David Keith says:

    Who thought up this cluster-****?

    And why was the contract awarded to Applus Technologies (a.k.a. Agbar Technologies), a company which had previously failed to deliver under its state contracts?

    Oh yeah, this is Massachusetts. Nobody is accountable for anything.

  4. I went to 4 different stations near me and called a 5th one, none of them had a working system, I also got told the whole system wasn’t working throughout the state. The RMV is flat out lying by saying the system is running smoothly.

  5. Day 3 of this CF, I’ve just started phoning around and places near me still don’t have a working system

    RMV, wake up and pull heads out of your ass, your system still isn’t working, get something done about it

  6. Uhhhh…morons – and I’m including the “journalists” here too: it doesn’t matter what “station” you go to – the entire system is down/not operable/failed to launch. Therefore there is NO station that can give you an inspection. Drive around all you want to.(Now it’s Oct 3. Still no inspections available.)

  7. This morning, the mechanic was unsure whether he could get a sticker generated from the new Applus Technology system (his equipment WAS set up, unlike other garages where the inspection hardware was still in bubble-wrap). I figured it was worth the gamble to attempt an inspection.

    After two hours of waiting (mind you, the old system inspections required just twenty minutes), my truck pulled out of his garage – with the same old sticker. He mentioned that trying to get technical support from Applus was significantly longer than with the previous vendor.

    I don’t know the logistics involved in bringing the old system back, even if that is possible with this new contractor – but there must be a point where lost-revenue for the garages and the state start making it a worthy consideration.

    I (and many others waiting with me) am hoping law-enforcement realizes the situation the entire region/state is in and can sympathize.

  8. Lies from the RMV. Anyone stating that the system is running smoothly should be out of a job. The spokesperson has a future working in DC.

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