The Goddess Speaks
ID card wait taxes aloha
RECENTLY I lost my driver's license. In a panic to get a replacement ID, I decided it would be faster to get a new state ID card than go down to the Department of Motor Vehicles and wait in those long, hideous lines.
I arrived at the Kekuanao'a Building on South King Street at 9:03 a.m. on a Monday, doors opened at 8 a.m. The line was only a few people deep, a few feet outside the door. Still, it took 15 minutes to edge into the room, and then I panicked. The room was full of people waiting to take photos and finalize their IDs.
There were clerks at five windows, and a woman with glasses on the edge of her nose was prepping folks in line to be sure everyone had the documents they needed and forms filled out properly. It seemed as though the number of workers was adequate to move the line along. But it took five to 15 minutes per person as they first reached a window. Taking a photo and fingerprints and getting a signature -- another three to five minutes. Then they'd be called back up to pick up their completed ID.
As soon as I handed in my paperwork and proper forms of identification, I was handed a number: C-28. Not a bad number. It was not until I left the waiting room and checked the marker board listing the current time, 9:15 a.m., and current number being served, 67, did I notice the approximate waiting time: two hours. Apparently they keep recycling through the numbers 1 to 100. All I could do was sigh.
DON'T THEY REALIZE people have things to do, places to be ... besides the fact that it's 2006, and they are treating this procedure as if it were still 1950?
The wait itself, though frustrating and exhausting, was only the first thing to hate. The building itself is ancient, hot and uncomfortable; the waiting room felt airless, with mismatched chairs and small walkways -- unfriendly to anyone with a disability.
Surely the State of Hawaii can do better than this. A bigger space, more chairs, more workers, more air! They could even charge more for the ID card to help with costs. I wouldn't mind.
Can we at least get some new paint and furniture ... anyone?
Lianne Moriyama, administrator of the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, says her office is doing all it can within its budget and has no plans for renovation. But she said attempts are being made to alleviate crowds in the central office through an outreach program that sends staff to process ID cards on Saturdays at various community sites.
If you must go to the central office, Moriyama suggests nonpeak hours, 8 to 9 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays, and avoid summer and school breaks. Nonpeak wait time will likely be 15 to 20 minutes.
In my case, the process took more than two hours. But the worst part of the whole ordeal? That night, as I was doing laundry and emptying pockets, I found my driver's license. Just my luck!
State ID cards are issued from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays at the Kekuanao'a Building, 465 S. King St., Room 102. Call 587-3111.
Tanya Kogler is an executive assistant at the Star-Bulletin.
The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and about women. If you have something to say, write "The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210,
Honolulu 96813 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.