RMV reopens after shutdown, REAL ID begins - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

RMV reopens after shutdown, REAL ID begins

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(Images provided by MassDOT) (Images provided by MassDOT)
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

It wasn't your typical Monday at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

After closing for more than three days, staff were working with a brand new computer system, while some residents wasted no time grabbing a new 'REAL ID' instead of the typical drivers license. 

The seats at the registry branch in Springfield quickly filled up Monday. It had been closed since Thursday night as the RMV replaced it's 30 year old computer system with ATLAS, a system meant to provide much quicker customer service.

While MassDOT couldn't provide specifics, they did tell us staff have been training all weekend to help pick up the pace.

"It's definitely faster, but they are still kind of learning a little bit. It was an amazing experience, I got in and out pretty quickly," said Pamela Williams.

Williams, like many, was at the Springfield branch bright and early for that very reason. Western Mass News watched as as an ATLAS support team had to come help work out an issue. After several minutes, whatever minor glitch they had was fixed and Williams was on her way, but she told Western Mass News the new system is still impressive.

"I got in quicker, got called to the counter quicker, and everything is just so much more organized, so I really liked it," Williams added.

While staff continue to work the new computer system, some residents chose to line up early today to get their REAL ID on day one.

"I have family members that live in other states and I plan on boarding planes," said Anthony Oliveira of Chicopee. 

Starting today, residents can choose to stick with a standard state drivers license on the right or get a 'REAL ID' on the left, which is signified with a yellow star in the top right corner.

People will not need to get a 'REAL ID' until October 2020.  In fact, if you have a passport, you will never need one at all, but if you don't have a passport, this will be your only ticket on a plane traveling in the U.S, by 2020.  A standard license won't be enough.

Oliveira's license is expiring very soon.  He chose to take the high road and get it done early.

"Probably won't have to go through all the headaches.  Once it comes, everybody's probably going to be running for the door," Oliveira noted. 

To get a REAL ID, you must visit an RMV center or AAA location in person.  You can’t get one online.

Click here for more information on the REAL ID. 

You can apply by clicking here. There are also a few question to determine if you should choose a REAL ID or a Standard Driver's license.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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