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DMV outage leaves customers waiting for hours

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Computer problems shut down the San Francisco DMV office for several hours Thursday morning. (Michael Toren/S.F. Examiner)

The San Francisco Department of Motor Vehicles office, along with approximately 70 other offices throughout the state, was unable to serve customers Thursday morning because of computer problems, the department said.

Some customers said they had been waiting in an unmoving line since before 6 a.m.

“The DMV has fixed a router issue that was affecting field offices around the state. The affected offices are now back up and processing transactions,” said DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez in an email at 11 a.m. But it took at least another hour before customer service actually resumed.

Managers at the San Francisco field office referred media requests to the Sacramento office, and said they were unaware of statements the Sacramento office was making.

“We are finding that some offices are having to reboot, which could still take a few minutes,” Gonzalez said in another email at 11:40 a.m. “We have 172 field offices across the state, so we are monitoring and checking with each office to see if there are any outlying issues.”

Shaun Parker, who came to the DMV to replace a stolen license, said he had been waiting since 7 a.m.

“I budgeted until 12 p.m. I figured it would take five hours,” he said, but noted that he would need to leave soon to go to work.

Two months ago, Parker waited three and a half hours in line at the San Francisco DMV before having to leave without being served.

Parker said DMV officials had come through the line several times throughout the morning handing out bottled water and telling people the system was still down.

DMV employees at times attempted to help some customers without the use of a computer, but were often unsuccessful.

“Just come back later,” one employee told several customers.

In 2016, the DMV blamed computer problems for a multi-day outage, and router problems specifically have been blamed for other large outages in the past.

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