2001 News Archive

RMV Reforms Progress Report IV

The Registry of Motor Vehicles has released its fourth progress report regarding improvements of the agency. "Driving Toward Success" is the title of this report and the following is the fourth installment.

Branch Improvements

Q-Matic Ticketing Systems
With the installation of Q-Matic ticketing systems nearly complete at all RMV locations, we are now able to measure wait times at branches across the state.

Last month, statewide, 67% of all customers were served in less than 10 minutes, 85% in less than 20 minutes, and 92% in less that a half hour. Current wait times compare favorably to the average hour or longer that customers were waiting just 18 months ago. View the wait times by branch.

Customer Comment Cards

In October of 1999, we began tracking customer comment card responses. Every month, the RMV receives approximately 2,500 comment cards from customers who have done business in one of our 34 branch locations. Results are tabulated by branch and a ranking system is in place to encourage branches to compete against each other for higher customer approval ratings.

Over the past 16 months, overall customer satisfaction has increased from 6.7 to 8.9 on a scale of one to 10.

customer satisfaction graph


Southbridge Full Service

In November 2000, the RMV restored Southbridge to a full service branch. We expanded the hours of operation and added four additional staff. Services offered were increased to include permit testing and all license transactions.

Lawrence Grand Opening

Earlier this month Governor Cellucci, State Senators Susan Tucker and James Jajuga, Representatives David Torisi, Jose Santiago, Barry Finegold, and Arthur Broadhurst, Mayor Patricia Dowling, and Registrar Dan Grabauskas, cut the ribbon on a new state-of-the-art Lawrence Registry branch.

The 11,000 square foot Lawrence Registry branch in the Route 114 Plaza is twice as large as its predecessor and will provide innovative customer-friendly amenities such as a "Kiddie Korner" for children to play, read or watch educational television. We also increased the number of service windows from 11 to 14, with eight additional staffers to meet customers needs. In addition, the branch will be open Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Hadley Grand Opening

The Registry's new branch office in Hadley was officially opened March 14, 2001 in a ceremony lead by Senator Michael Knapik, Representative Nancy Flavin and Registrar Dan Grabauskas. Replacing the previous Northampton branch, the new office has more counter stations organized in a more efficient, "horseshoe" design. The branch has also expanded the services provided by having a hearing officer available two days a week.

Proposed Falmouth Site

In an effort to improve access to the Registry for customers on the upper Cape, the RMV is adding a new office in Falmouth. The bid for office space is posted. Licensing equipment has been ordered. We hope to have this new branch open later this spring/early summer.

Maintaining a Full Service Branch in Lowell: New Location

Bids for office space have closed and a site has been selected. Lease negotiations and space planning are currently underway. Occupancy of the new office space is expected in late summer early fall.

Credit Card Use for All Transactions

The supplemental budget that funded the costs to reinstate registration renewal fees also included moneys to expand the use of credit cards by RMV customers. The Registry pays the 2.5% usage charge to credit card companies when customers charge transactions on VISA, Mastercard or Discover. Because of our limited budget, credit card transactions were restricted to license transactions, Internet transactions and transactions via the Phone Center. This restriction only caused confusion for customers who did not understand why you could renew you license at one side of the counter with a credit card, but could not walk 15 feet to the registration counter and do the same. The additional funding in the supplemental budget has allowed the RMV to expand the use of credit cards for all transactions in branches. The added transactions include registration renewal, registration of a new vehicle, payment of speeding tickets and payment of license and registration reinstatement fees.

Web-Based Initiatives

The popularity of the RMV's website, massrmv.com, continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Website visitors have grown by 176% from 1999 to 2000. In 1999, a total of 37,457 people transacted with the RMV compared to a staggering 207,930 in 2000 an increase of 455%. A total of 15% of the February registration renewal business was done via the Internet.

View graph of website visitors.

View graph of Internet transaction totals.

Website Awards

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Fastest to Respond in Customer Service Test

The Blue Penguin Development Corporation conducted a survey to see which customer service offices were paying attention to its customers needs. According to Blue Penguin, "companies spend thousands and thousands of dollars to build web sites. They hire designers, they test the ease of navigation and they make sure that the site performs technically without a glitch. What they often forget to do however, is to make the necessary changes in their existing business processes to ensure that the site -- once live -- gets the ongoing attention it deserves.

The websites listed below were each sent a message from their respective "Contact Us" sections. In each case, the site owner was asked for either its nearest store or location, or its corporate mailing address. The RMV is proud to say that we topped the list.

Website Address

MA Registry Motor Vehicles


2/1/01 16:52

2/1/01 17:01


Fleet Bank


12/2/00 22:30

12/2/00 22:50


General Cinema


1/9/01 9:58

1/9/01 10:43


Mulberry Child Care


12/5/00 10:36

12/5/00 11:26


Boston Globe


12/18/00 9:39

12/18/00 10:34


Grand Circle Travel


2/14/01 10:58

2/14/01 12:32


Eddie Bauer


12/18/00 9:35

12/18/00 12:14


Pegasus Communications


1/12/01 14:17

1/12/01 17:03


Gold's Gym


1/9/01 9:53

1/9/01 13:01


New England Cable News


1/17/01 10:48

1/17/01 14:30




12/7/00 9:46

12/7/00 15:03


Black and Decker


1/31/01 17:40

2/1/01 7:49


Legal Seafoods


12/2/00 22:30

12/3/00 18:51


CD Now


12/18/00 15:59

12/19/00 15:08


Bright Horizons


1/9/01 9:56

1/10/01 15:16


Shaw's Supermarkets


12/2/00 22:30

12/4/00 14:32


Radio Shack


12/18/00 9:37

12/20/00 14:40




12/18/00 17:43

12/21/00 11:35




12/2/00 22:30

12/6/00 2:22




12/7/00 9:48

12/10/00 20:24


Macaroni Grill


12/4/00 16:48

12/8/00 11:04




1/4/01 10:28

1/8/01 10:34


Finagle A Bagel


1/17/01 15:49

1/22/01 9:34




1/10/01 12:14

1/15/01 17:20




1/31/01 17:46

2/6/01 13:02




1/31/01 17:41

2/6/01 16:37


Tower Records


12/5/00 11:39

12/12/00 12:42




1/31/01 17:44

No Response




1/17/01 12:54

No Response




1/9/01 10:34

No Response


Office Max


12/28/00 14:27

No Response


Boston Biz Journal


12/28/00 10:58

No Response


Dell Computer


12/21/00 11:42

No Response




12/2/00 22:30

No Response


Massrmv.com Listed Among the "Top Sites for 2000" by MuniNet Guide and Review

"MuniNet Guide and Review" is a newsletter designed for those who work in all aspects of local and state governments. Each year, MuniNet evaluates Internet outlets that focus on public service. For the second consecutive year, massrmv.com has been honored as one of the top sites in the nation for service delivery.

Government Computer News Honors Massachusetts RMV

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles was noted in the May 2000 edition of Government Computer News: State and Local for its outstanding online achievements. Based on a study by Andersen Consulting, the study stated that state motor vehicle agencies are not taking full advantage of the Web for service improvement and cost savings. However, Andersen "applauds the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles" for supporting credit card transactions for license and registration renewals, license plate ordering and citation payments.

RMV Website Wins CIO Magazine Award

CIO Magazine named the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles a 1999 CIO Web Business 50/50 award winner for its online business excellence. Each year, CIO Magazine recognizes 50 Internet and 50 Intranet/Extranet sites that go beyond customary Web commerce practices to deliver outstanding business value. The RMV was one of five Internet winners from the public sector.

Legislative Initiatives

Handicap Placards

Prior to January 2001, the law prevented the Registry from issuing both a HP registration plate and a disabled parking placard to the same person. The intent of the law was to keep the number of placards in circulation as small as possible to help reduce disabled parking abuse. The HP plate and the disabled parking placard hold the same parking benefits. However, the logic neglected situations when the vehicle of persons with HP plates could not be used.

The new law provides that upon application and for good cause shown by the applicant, the Registry may issue to any person both a plate displaying the International Symbol of Access and a temporary placard. This change should help in situations where a repair requires the vehicle to be left over night, situations requiring car rental, and for planned travel in someone else's vehicle.

The amended law also increases the fines for placard abuse and abuse of the disabled parking space. The provision increases the fine for wrongful use of the HP plate or placard from $100 to $500 for the first offense with a mandatory thirty (30) day loss of driver's license. The fine for each subsequent offense is $1000.

Unauthorized parking in a handicap spot has been increased from a range of $25 to $100 to a range of $100 to $300. The new law also makes it illegal to park in areas, which are intended spaces for wheelchair lifts and ramps.

Racial Profiling

The Commonwealth's Racial Profiling act is scheduled to go into effect April 1, 2001. The RMV will play an integral role in implementing this act. The RMV has redesigned the Massachusetts Uniform Citation to capture the racial, gender and other data required under the new law. The RMV and the Merit Rating Board will become the repository for the collection of the data. This data will be processed and reported monthly to the Executive Office of Public Safety who will determine whether additional follow up is needed by any state or local police departments. In addition, the RMV Drivers' Manual has been update to include a toll-free phone number: 1-866-6RACIAL
(1-866-672-2425) which motorists can call to report any suspected incidents of racial profiling.

Technology Upgrades

A New Look for Licenses and ID Cards

New driver license image stations have been fully implemented in all branch offices. New camera, new signature pads, new everything! This new system replaces seven-year-old equipment. The technology includes better cameras, which capture colors and images more accurately. The new signature pads are larger and easier to write on. The new license includes more security features both hidden and apparent. The under 21 licenses are formatted differently to be easily identifiable.

Improving the Phone System

The RMV, working with Avaya Communications, completed the installation of a new RMV phone system in December 2000. The telephone equipment included over 700 phones and a new "automatic call distribution" (ACD) system. The ACD, the brains of the new phone system, will provide valuable new features which will distribute calls to telephone agents more efficiently and effectively.

One of the newly implemented features is called Informational Messaging. This feature allows a customer to select prerecorded information, by subject. RMV departments have provided answers to "frequently ask questions" using this phone system feature. Such topics as branch locations, how to get a driver's license, when do you need a title, and many more are now available for customers twenty-four hours a day. When the phone center is open (9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday), the customer can search through and listen to Informational Messaging without losing their place in the callers queue.

Work on Phase II of the phone system upgrade is underway and will bring many more features. Two of the improvements will be the ability to renew a registration over the phone and the ability to transfer information about a caller to another phone center representative if special service is required. For registration renewal, the customer will enter his or her registration and credit card information via the phone keypad. Just like an Internet transaction, the phone system will process the registration renewal and provide a confirmation number to the customer. With caller information transfer, the customer does not need to "start from the beginning" when he or she is transferred from one telephone agent to another. When the call is transferred, all information about the call up to that point will be sent to the next representative. This saves both the RMV and the customer valuable time.

Computer Upgrades

The Registry is making significant progress toward upgrading the RMV mainframe and the operation of the computer system. Our mainframe upgrade will be complete in March 2000. The RMV mainframe processing speed will increase from 219 to 307 million of instructions per second (MIPS). By increasing the speed of the computer and the capacity of the data storage system, we are able to make the system run faster and more efficiently. This means the computers will run more reliably and greatly reduce the amount of time they are off-line. The Registry is also improving the way the branches are connected to the main computer. This includes replacing over 600 terminals and 500 printers in the branches with current, up-to-date technology. This improvement will provide more effective tools to serve customers. Our Local Area Network (LAN) is in the process of an upgrade. This will allow the agency to add the number of users, expand the number of processing systems available to Registry staff, and improve communication of information across different departments within the agency. Communication of information to outside business partners will also improve.


Electronic Vehicle Registration (EVR)

The EVR program remains the single most efficient way for auto dealers and insurance agents to process registration and title applications for their customers. The great success of the program means one-stop shopping for motorists, eliminating the need to visit an RMV branch location. The RMV is now piloting the EVR program with selected preowned vehicle dealers. The Massachusetts Independent Automobile Dealers Association continues to support the program and is ready to enlist a number of members upon completion of the pilot which is expected June 1, 2001.

To date there are 394 auto dealers and 148 insurance agents participating in the program. EVR processes approximately 32% of all registration transactions each month.

RMV Participates in Pilot

Based on the success of its current motor carrier safety programs, the RMV was selected by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance to serve as the pilot agency for implementing a new self-diagnostic software program. The goal of the program is to reduce accidents caused by motor carriers by developing a better set of data about the vehicles and drivers most likely to be involved in an accident. The new diagnostic tools are designed to measure how well information about motor carriers is compiled from varying sources such as law enforcement and the courts and further, to determine whether that information is integrated into licensing and registration decisions. The project is scheduled to be complete this summer.

New Accident Records

The Registry is piloting a newly designed accident report form as part of a Massachusetts Highway Department project to automate the accident record process. The Registry was hired to design this new system by Mass Highway. The new accident forms have been distributed to a large number of police departments for testing.

Members of the media, please contact the RMV Public Relations Department for more information: feedback.registry@state.ma.us



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