BISMARCK, N.D. - Those who are well-organized don't have many concerns about renewing their vehicle registration. When the notice comes in the mail, they write a check to the DOT right away, send it back and the new stickers come well before the expiration date.
The rest of us who wait until closer to the deadline have to make that dreaded trip to the DOT, grab a number and wait until we're called. But for next year at least, drivers in Bismarck can almost be rewarded for being procrastinators.
This is the punishment that awaits those who wait until the last minute to renew their registrations. The anticipated wait time is pretty close to an hour. But those with the gumption to try something new and have a credit or debit card, there's what you might call 'the express lane.'
"I was anticipating an hour or two wait maybe and come in two minutes - that's great. Now I can go home and do chores," says Virginia Ernst, St. Anthony.
Ernst was one of the brave souls to give the self-service terminal a try. It's a year-long pilot project in Bismarck only. All you do is scan the bar code on your renewal notice, confirm the information, slide in your card and the new registration comes out the bottom. It's only for renewals - yet it's clearly not for everyone.
"I think some people would rather just pay cash or want to pay by check. And if they want to do it, more power to them. But those people that would like to not deal with interaction, they want to come here and just print it out, it's another means of getting your card and get your tabs up-to-date," says Russ Buccholz, DOT IT Director.
And if that's not convenient enough, there's also a terminal inside Kirkwood Mall in the IKeating Wing, and another at the Oasis Truckstop/Stamart Travel Center along I-94 that's open 24/7.
Honestly, though, things didn't go great for everyone. The machine has a few glitches.
For instance, the card holder for one bank in particular were having trouble making a transaction. It might have to do with the thickness of the card, but the IT Department is working on it.