Temple DPS office

A line of people waits outside the Texas Department of Public Safety office at 6612 S. General Bruce Drive in Temple on a recent weekday afternoon. After about an hour, people in line were told to come back another time because more people remained waiting inside.

A $212 million boost to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s budget is aimed to bring better customer service — and shorter lines — to driver’s license offices across the state.

But those shorter lines may not appear until after November, according to the agency.

That’s when 762 new driver’s license office employees — including two in Temple, three in Killeen, three on Fort Hood and one in Lampasas — are expected to start working after two months of training.

Once these new employees are working, DPS will consider driver’s license offices in Bell County and across the state to be “fully staffed,” according to the agency.

“It’s very important because we need to be able to provide the best customer service we possibly can. I’m committed to do that with all of our state agencies,” state Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple, told the Telegram. “I have been in and out of the (driver’s license) office multiple times for the past few years, working with the deputy director of DPS and local leadership to try to bring as much customer service as possible to that facility.”

In July 2018, the Temple driver’s license office — located at 6612 S. General Bruce Drive — temporarily reduced services as an effort to alleviate overcrowding in the small waiting area.

More than a year later, it is a common sight to see a line of people standing outside the office waiting to renew their licenses.

“My constituents — from those in Bell County all the way to Lampasas County — have been frustrated with the really long wait times,” state Rep. Brad Buckley, R-Salado, told the Telegram. “This session — through House Bill 1, which is, of course, the budget — we were able to put … dollars into making sure to try to reform our driver’s license offices.”

Both legislators said long wait times are unacceptable.

“We’re hopeful these reforms and these investments in additional staff will begin to make a difference,” Buckley said.

Shine said he hopes to see more efficient driver’s license offices across Bell County and Texas.

“I just hope that we continue to make progress to continue to make that facility as customer friendly as possible,” he said.

FME News Service contributed to this report.