BOSTON (CBS) – As drivers and business owners continued complaining about the performance of the new statewide vehicle inspection system, Gov. Charlie Baker told WBZ-TV the system is “working,” but acknowledged there is room for improvement.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) rolled out the program at the beginning of the month, but the WBZ I-Team discovered inspection stations all over the Boston area turning customers away on Monday.
At Kelly Nissan of Woburn, the space for inspections sat empty on Tuesday. Service manager Stephen Sheldon said his employees are locked of the new computer system.
Even if it was functioning properly, Sheldon said the state’s vendor overseeing the program did not deliver inspection stickers to his business that could be printed out for new and used vehicles.
“I would say we’re off to a rough start,” said Sheldon, adding he has turned away about 40 customers. “It’s mandated by the state that we have inspection stickers on our car. And we can’t give those. It’s frustrating to tell our customers we can’t help them.”
Sheldon and other inspection station owners told the WBZ I-Team on Tuesday they were particularly irked that the RMV insisted the transition was “going smoothly.”
A helpline set up for the vehicle inspection program had this recording when WBZ dialed the number: “We are diligently working to correct the technical issues that are impacting the system.”
A manager in Lynn said he has lost about 50 customers so far.
“We have been waiting on tech support to call back for two days,” he said. “The lines are either busy or hang up on you. Their live chat online terminates automatically.”
WBZ caught up to Gov. Baker to get his reaction to the complaints.
“Obviously the training that was done to tee people up for this wasn’t as effective as it should’ve been,” Baker said. “The system is working. The problem we are having at this point is we need to do a better job of training people so they can use it and provide service to their customers.”
RMV Registrar Erin Devaney told reporters that over 50 percent of licensed stations had performed inspections since the system went live. When asked about the stations still having issues, Devaney attributed the situation to a lack of comfort with the new technology.
“We will be satisfied when all licensed stations are installed with the technology and feel comfortable they can use it,” Devaney said. “That’s what we are focused on now.”
On Tuesday, drivers still reported unsuccessfully getting inspections after trying several different locations.
Gabriela Araujo said her boyfriend had already struck out at four different locations. She was excited to join a waiting crowd at an inspection station in Brighton to finally get a new sticker on the windshield.
“We’ve been on the hunt,” she said.
Other drivers weren’t ask lucky. John McDonald of Shrewsbury said he had been to nine different locations.
“Many have indicated that it might be the middle of next week or longer before the problem is solved,” McDonald said. “I would like to know what dealers, if any, are able to perform valid inspections.”
A spokeswoman for the Boston Transportation Department said it was “aware of the issues” with the new inspection system and would work with drivers who received recent violations for expired stickers.
Ryan Kath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports