Reality Check: 1 Tag Agency Left in Buncombe
The largest county in Western North Carolina is down to only one state D.M.V. tag agency, and that's causing long waits in line at the remaining Buncombe County location.
The Hendersoville Road office in Asheville closed Friday, so it's down to Tunnel Road.
People are finding out the hard way, that their local license plate agency is no longer. The man who'd held the state contract for 20 years put up a sign, locked the door, and retired. "I was just coming to renew a tag and transfer a title for a new car I just got, they were closed," says Angela Penland of Asheville. "Went to the other one this morning, didn't know it was closed, seems to me they would've put up more notice than that," says Randall Smith of Candler.
So the tag office at Innsbruck Mall is now the only game in town. On this first day of the D.M.V. business week, it certainly looked it.
"To have to wait an hour and forty minutes is unbelievable, and it doesn't seem like we should have to go through that just to get a car registered," says Reuben Hollifield of Waynesville. "With the population we have, we need to have more than one office, and quite frankly, this is much too small of an office as it is," says Tara Ligerfeld of Asheville. Inside that office, D.M.V. employees facing a much higher than normal customer volume.
For those in the local motor vehicle business, there's concern over just one office. "We have to process probably 240 plates a year, so it's going to be holding things up," says Thomas Montgomery with BMW Motorcycle of Asheville.
There were many who never made it into that unusually long line today. They took one look and turned back around. "I never thought of that, now I go ahead and mail it and, or I go on the internet and make the payment," says Sukumar Debroy of Asheville. "I got right down to the last day and had to come up here to get it, and I come up to find that, so I guess I'll go to Madison in the morning," says Roger Putnam of Asheville.
That is the only option now, going to another county. The D.M.V. says it is reviewing applications for another tag agency in Asheville, but that getting an office set up and operational takes about four months.