Live Blogging My Wait at DPS

I lost my driver’s license a couple of weeks ago. A stomach bug is keeping me away from the office today, so I thought I would invest my afternoon in getting a new license. (I don’t want to get my co-workers sick, but I’m not so concerned with everyone here.)

I entered the Department of Public Safety office in Carrollton at 12:45 and was issued Ticket 078. I have no idea when I will be helped, because the big screen says Tickets 431, 211, 054, and 512 are currently being served. I’d estimate there are 75 people with me in this lobby. Good times.

1:12 p.m.: A message on the big screen clarifies the disparity in ticket numbers; they’re based on the type of service requested, not on arrival time. If I had simply needed a duplicate license, I’d have been given a ticket numbered in the 200s. But the woman I spoke with when I arrived pointed out that my lost license was up for renewal. And renewals get ticket numbers between 001 and 199. How this new information affects my wait time is still a mystery.

1:34 p.m.: The woman sitting next to me just had her ticket, No. 217, called. She leapt up like she’d won the lottery.

1:45 p.m.: Renewals are being called every five minutes or so, with the most recent being Ticket 061. At this rate, I should be called at about 3:15. If I can get out of here before the first pitch of the Rangers game, I’ll be ecstatic.

1:57 p.m.: The guy who claimed the empty seat next to me smells like he’s smoked a couple of packs in his day — perhaps even this day. Time to find a new place to sit.

2:05 p.m.: A man just walked in and asked a woman (presumably his wife), “You still sittin’ here?” When she answered in the obvious affirmative, he asked, “You in danger of passing out from low blood sugar again?” Her response: “No, I’m good.”

2:35 p.m.: My number’s been called. Score!

2:38 p.m.: I have a new temporary license in my hands. Although a warning on the DPS website prompted me to bring my birth certificate, my passport, my Social Security card, and my marriage license, I was not asked to produce any of these documents.


  • bigjondaniel

    The different series (000, 100’s, 200’s, 400’s) are for different things patrons need to do. 000’s are for renewals, 400’s are for kids getting permits, etc

  • Kat

    If you don’t take an illness with you to a DPS office then it’s a sure bet you’ll take one home.

  • Borborygmus

    DPS screams for privatization. Seriously. Last time I was there one of the workers had their kid sitting at one of the stations because it was a “no school” day. The people there seem overwhelmingly unhappy to have a job.

    I think this is the reason they are moving to a regional office.

  • Daniel


    Yeah, especially if you went to the Carrollton DPS this unfortunate afternoon. Ironically, in attending to the letter of civic responsibility, Dan shows gleeful disregard for its spirit.

    Look, I’ll never be sainted for my abiding consideration of the smelly and ill-mannered brutes I’m forced to call fellow citizens. Still, though, Dan, I hope your stomach bug radios you with a “code urgent” that causes you to miss your number and then further degrade yourself with uncontrollable expressions of explosive frustration. I certainly wish on you no worse than that — it would be the comeuppance that perfectly suits the crime.

  • JB

    @ Borborygmus
    DPS, The Post office, and healthcare should probably be privatized. Really, there are only 2 things the U.S. Government surpasses the world in terms of efficiency…killing people(Military) and taking money(IRS). 😉

  • @Daniel: I’m making a point of breathing through my nose only.

  • Obama’s Seat

    Next time I paint my house, I’m going to live-blog the drying process.

  • why

    Why on earth would you _arrive_ at DPS in the afternoon? Everybody knows you arrive at DPS 30 minutes before it opens in the morning. You still wait, but not so long. Go home and try again tomorrow.

  • Donatella

    When we moved to New Jersey a couple of years ago I prepared to go to the DMV by packing a book, a bottle of water and a snack–just as I would have in Dallas. Much to my surprise I was out of there in 15 minutes with an actual NJ Driver’s License with my picture on it. Nothing else moves faster in Nj but this did.

  • Gen. Hammond

    I agree about privatizing DPS. I mean, look at how efficient the military is these days since privatizing their support. Thanks KBR and Brown & Root!

    Live blogging your license? Really?

  • Borborygmus

    Another argument for privatization – it takes 5 minutes to renew my car’s county registration at Tom Thumb – 30 minutes at the county offices. It would be worse at the county offices but they wisely allow retailers to offer it as a service to their customers, and saving taxpayers more salary costs.

    Fastest yet, Drivers licenses can be renewed online. Dan, I know you lost yours, but your payroll person probably has a photocopy of it in your employee file. You need the DPS control number off the front.

  • CollinBabs

    I sat with my 80 year old mother at the DPS for 4 hours to get her license renewed, as she received a letter stating that she had to come in person and couldn’t renew online. Reason: she needed to prove her citizenship, as her first name is Delores. I was furious!!! We got there first thing in the morning and it was an unnecessarily long day surrounded by hoardes in a filthy facility.

    @Borborygmus – Can’t do anything at Tom Thumb or elsewhere without incurring additional “convenience” changes. Heck, to mail in car registration it costs add’l fee!

  • CollinBabs

    OOPS – that should read “convenience” CHARGES in my previous post. Anger made my fingers twitch.

  • klw

    After I got mugged last month, had to get new license. Walked in w/o a magazine and would’ve killed to sit and blog for 4 hours. But I can tell you all the nifty personalized plate choices you have now from staring at the poster in front of me. And you dare not leave/move because of the coded problem thing. If rich, I’d donate a TV to at least have CNN on. Did reconnect with a match date from UT and his kid. DPS told me I had to come in because they didn’t have my fingerprints. Friends say to always go to Carrollton office.

  • Kris

    I had to get a new license in July after I got married. I went up to the office in McKinney and had to wait 4 hours to get my new license. Worst part was they made everyone wait outside because there weren’t enough chairs inside so I got to wait for 2 hours in the 100 degree heat before they even let us in the building. Good times for sure.

  • LooseLonghorn

    Nobody’s ever at the Cedar Hill office. It was worth the drive for the 5 minute wait in mid-afternoon. Get smart, people.