BOSTON (CBS) –  The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles said Thursday it will now prioritize only transactions that can’t be done online, over the phone or by mail at the eight branches that are still open.  Each customer will now be assigned a ticket, based on the service that they need, to promote social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

All locations were shut down Monday and Tuesday. The offices in Boston-Haymarket, Brockton, Plymouth, Worcester, Lawrence, Fall River, Springfield and Pittsfield re-opened Wednesday but there were extremely long lines and wait times.

“Customers visiting the open centers will be issued tickets on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to those customers with transactions that cannot be completed online,” the RMV said in a statement Thursday.

“Tickets will designate for customers whether they will be served in the morning (9 a.m. until 12 p.m.) timeframe or the (12 p.m. until 5 p.m.) timeframe in groupings. Limited tickets will be issued based on the Service Center capacity and number of customers that can be served realistically through the course of the day. Any remaining customers will be asked to leave and return another day. “

Many people waited for three hours to get their business done Wednesday as customers were allowed into each branch just six at a time because of social distancing.

Ed Nelson said woke up at 2:30 a.m. Thursday and took a bus from Cape Cod to Boston to get to the Haymarket RMV before it opened at 9 a.m.

“I’m number two (in line) because there’s an elderly lady over there who’s number one,” he told WBZ-TV.

Nelson tried going to branches in Fall River and Brockton Wednesday, but the lines were just too long.

“I just think they should open the RMV way earlier than this,” said a young man waiting to get his permit.

There was also more bad news for young potential drivers – road tests are now suspended indefinitely.

There is also a 60-day deadline extension for drivers who have personal credentials expiring in March and April.

The RMV stopped taking customers at 3 p.m. Wednesday in order to close on time by 5 p.m. It’s expected to do the same Thursday. The registry also wants drivers to know the wait times on their website are not accurate.

Plenty of services can still be done online and AAA also offers select RMV services to its members.


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