New Jersey’s governor tried to be understanding Tuesday when the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission offices reopened – with long lines and arguments among customers following a long coronavirus-related shutdown.
But many New Jerseyans posting on social media seemed to think Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, could have done more to prevent the problems.
Many people waiting in line at MVC offices around the state said they arrived early in the morning because they were expecting problems.
The reopening was already delayed by a day because of a problem with a text messaging system intended to prevent overcrowding, FOX 5 of New York City reported.
But overcrowding appeared to happen anyway, at multiple MVC offices around the state.
“We’ve been here since 7:30,” one woman from Hudson County told WCBS-TV of New York City. “Nobody comes out here to say specifically the things we have to do. … They are not organized at all.”
Emily Sheppard of Warren told the station she was waiting since 6 a.m.
“We’ve been standing here for eight hours,” she told WCBS. “I can’t do this again. I just can’t.”
Many also noted that advice about face masks and social distancing was being followed only sporadcally.
A message on the state’s website warned people to come back some other time: “Lines are very long,” the message read. “Consider waiting a week or more before you come in.”
For many residents, it was another example of dysfunction in New Jersey’s state government, already known for its notoriously problematic NJ Transit bus and rail system.
“Nobody is happy to see that. Nobody wants to be waiting in lines like that, so we have nothing but unending sympathy,” Murphy told WCBS.
“Nobody is happy to see that. Nobody wants to be waiting in lines like that, so we have nothing but unending sympathy.”
MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton issued a statement to FOX 5.
“While we understand the frustration of our customers in this extremely challenging and difficult time, our employees are doing the best they can to keep everyone safe and work as efficiently as possible,” Fulton said.
But social media users didn’t seem to be very sympathetic toward the governor or the MVC. Many referred to the MVC using the initials of its predecessor, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
“Gonna be another [coronavirus] spike because of dumbass dmv lines and Murphy not understanding anything about organizing,” one Twitter user wrote. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“If any of us orchestrated this failure of a plan or performed this horrifically, we’d be fired,” another user wrote. “I bet the Head of NJ’s DMV gets a raise.”
“Governor Murphy, the people of this state were tortured today at DMV. More disappointment. How much more can we take?” another commenter wrote.
“Just another example of Murphy leadership,” another wrote.
At an MVC location in Wayne, tempers started to fray before police stepped in, WCBS reported.
“Can you make sure no one don’t cut in line, please, because it’s really not fair,” one waiting customer said.
“Keep walking, keep walking,” another customer shouted back.
“You say something? Say it to me again?” the woman replied.
The Trentonian, a newspaper in New Jersey’s capital city, called upon state lawmakers to shut down the MVC.
“Listen,” columnist Jeff Edelstein wrote, “if we can’t dine indoors [because of the coronavirus], then we can’t be asses to elbows in order to hand in a set of license plates or get a piece of paper with a VIN number on it.”