Privatize the DMV

Matthew Yglesias calls on governments to improve DMVs, noting that many offices have inconvenient hours and locations. A better idea: Why not privatize them? Licenses to operate a DMV center could be sold to private businesses, which would then have an incentive to operate in ways that are pleasant for consumers. Better hours, better locations, better atmosphere. You could put one in a Starbucks or a Wal-Mart. Offer wi-fi. There are plenty of ways a business might make additional money by better catering to people who have to go there. Perhaps not all functions of the DMV should be privatized, but at least some of them could be.

This paper from the Cascade Policy Institute is from 1997, but it notes that several states already have some experience with this. In 2005 Radley Balko posted notes from satisfied customers in New Mexico and Arizona.

Comments

  1. Doug Winship says:

    I think I tweeted about this before, but Ohio is one of those states that has privatized the customer contact portions of the DMV. It has always been that way to my recollection, at least in the 20 years I’ve lived here.

    Starbucks, these agencies are not. But they do have generally pleasant, helpful employees, brisk lines, if any lines at all, and are pretty conveniently located.

  2. Joespth says:

    I stumbled into a funny survey about privatizing the dmv – http://www.dmv.com/can-we-get-rid-of-the-dmv
    - there seems to be a growing demand to radically change a government department with probably the worst reputation going back 40 years.

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