SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California is trying to make it easier, and fairer, for people trying to book DMV appointments.

According to Assembly Bill 317 some people are booking appointments at the DMV then selling them for profit.

“A company in California has been selling ‘expedited appointments’ to customers to guarantee appointments with the DMV within 2-3 weeks. Their employees scour the DMV website looking for appointments and then book those appointments under a customer’s name by charging them a fee. This company is profiting off a free service that is provided to all Californians. If this inequity is not fixed, the current system allows those with the means to take advantage of a system that is supposed to serve Californians from all economic backgrounds.”

The bill aims to make it illegal to sell, or offer to sell, an appointment with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The law would apply to people, firms, corporations, or associations. If it’s passed, those caught selling or offering to sell appointments would be charged with an infraction. An original version of the legislation would have made it a misdemeanor with a fine up to $2,500.

AB 317 unanimously passed the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday. It’s already been approved by the Assembly.

Analysis of AB 317 cites a company called YoGov, which offers a service to help people get an appointment. Customers pay $25 and, as the website claims, employees at Yogov are “constantly hitting refresh on DMV’s website to look for dropped appointments in order to get the customer an earlier appointment.” The analysis goes on to explain, “However, in an interview with the blog Hacker Noon, Yogov founder, Ryder Pearce, stated that he had hired a team in the Philippines “to help with bookings and customer support. This allowed me to not only get some sleep but helped us fulfill DMV appointment bookings that we hadn’t yet automated.”

YoGov also offers a service called “DMV Line Concierges.” Someone is paid to wait in a line on a customer’s behalf. AB 317 would not prevent that from happening.

Driving schools also book blocks of appointments and then sell them to students. This bill would also prohibit this practice.

It is unknown if this legislation will prevent people from asking for or giving help on websites such as Craigslist or TaskRabbit.

People can make appointments at the DMV up to 90 days in advance; however, those appointments are often quickly filled, forcing people to go in-person and wait. As of July 10, 2019, the first available appointment at the DMV is:

  • Auburn- 9/10
  • Carmichael- 9/18
  • Davis- 9/11
  • Fairfield- 9/19
  • Folsom- 10/7
  • Jackson- 10/4
  • Lodi- 9/26
  • Modesto- 9/3
  • Placerville- no appointments available
  • Rocklin- 9/12
  • Roseville- 8/7
  • Sacramento- 9/17
  • Sacramento South- 9/25
  • Stockton- 9/6
  • Tracy- 10/3
  • Turlock- 9/9
  • Willows- 7/19
  • Woodland- 9/18
  • Yuba City- 8/12

The 183 DMV field offices, Commercial Drive Test Centers, and Industry Business Centers will close the morning of Wednesday, July 24 for “Operation Excellence: DMV Training.” The offices will re-open at 1 pm on that day.

Many people have complained about the long wait times at the DMV, even for those who have appointments. In the summer of 2018, the average wait time for those without appointments was two hours and ten minutes; it increased to three hours and 21 minutes at the 20 busiest DMV offices. By January 2019, after the DMV added staff and streamlined some steps, the wait times dropped to 57 minutes and 95 minutes, respectively.

The DMV aims to make sure wait times for customers without an appointment don’t exceed an hour; appointments for those with appointments are expected to take 18 minutes.

The Department of Parks and Recreation previously dealt with similar programs that used websites to reserve camping grounds. A law was passed that now prohibits that.