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AAA offers alternative to DMV

Closed doors at DMV send customers to Auto Club

Posted: February 7, 2009 1:20 a.m.
Updated: February 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.
A group of rain-soaked people stood shivering outside of the Newhall office of the Department of Motor Vehicles, which closed Friday due to a state furlough day.

"It's a huge inconvenience," said Santa Clarita resident Erik Klein, 28, as cold droplets of water trickled down his face. "I got a ride here and had no idea that they would be closed today."

He wasn't the only one. Klein and other visitors to the department today were met with closed doors and no visible explanation why. "The only sign posted is the one that says ‘Closed' on the window, but that's all," Palmdale resident Sean Harmon said. "It would have been nice to be informed before coming down here today."

Many others passed by the department today, only to be turned away confused and upset.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger enacted "Furlough Fridays" in an effort to shrink the budget by scheduling two unpaid Fridays per month from most state employees.

Visitors hoping to resolve their DMV needs were turned away with no information.

Even the security guard stationed outside was told by DMV officials not to comment on why the office was closed as he stood outside telling people to come back another day.

On a dryer side of town at the Auto Club of Southern California, officials welcomed members today with friendly smiles as they offered their usual alternative to the DMV.

Members at the club were aware of Furlough Friday, but said they would have gone to the Auto Club anyway.

"No question about it - this is much better service," said a pleased 22-year member of the Auto Club who wished to remain anonymous.

"Here you are a name, not a number and their customer service is much more personalized and effective."

The AAA provides services to members such as vehicle registration and title transfers as an easier and faster alternative to waiting in line at the DMV.

As for the Furlough Act, it is in effect now until June of 2010.

The Auto Club expects to become busier, especially on those Fridays effected, but brings in extra staff on those day to handle the crowd.


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