By Art Holliday
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - All over the country, departments of motor vehicles have gained a horrible reputation: long lines, wasted time, rude staff. DMV could stand for demoralizing, maddening, and vexing.
"I think it's right up there with getting your teeth pulled or an IRS audit for most people," said Molly Maher of Mid-America Transplant Services. She is determined to change that negative image.
The Maplewood license office and two other local offices are operated by Mid-America Transplant Services, making MTS the only organ procurement organization in the country that's operating licensing offices.
The Maplewood license office is going all out to improve the DMV blues, using a new system called QLess. After entering the license office you head to a kiosk and type in your phone number. You immediate get the first in a series of texts showing how long you'll have to wait. That means you can leave the DMV and not lose your place in line.
"It'll send them a text update to let them know hey, you're coming up. You better come back to the office," explained Maher. "If you need more time you could just text back an 'M' and it pushes them back a little bit. They don't lose their place, they don't have to wait in line all over again."
That's just fine for DMV customer Landon Testa.
"You have other options, as far as like shopping and things like that. They tell you have 30 minutes," said Testa.
Inside the DMV, you know it's your turn when you hear an automated voice announce the last four digits of your phone number.
"It was so much better to come over here and get this taken care of here with their system and the time limits they posted. It was great," said customer Ryan Engel.
The strategy for Mid-America Transplant Services goes beyond improved customer service. MTS believes happier DMV customers has already led to more organ donors.
"We sought an opportunity to educate the public about the organ and tissue donor registry because 90 percent of people, when they sign up on the registry, this is where they signed up," said Maher.
Maher says organ donation registrations are up and the DMV's reputation at its three locations is improving with customers, thanks to extended hours and more staff.
"They know that they're not going to have to wait. They're not going to be encountering rude people. They are going to be greeted with a smile from people that really want to help them with their transaction and get what they need," she said.
To register for a DMV appointment in Maplewood, Chesterfield, or St. Louis visit the MTS License Offices website.