The Department of Motor Vehicles license offices in Independence and Sugar Creek have introduced a new customer-friendly service designed to make wait times non-existent.

Those two offices are now offering online advance scheduling, allowing customers to make appointments for DMV transactions up to two weeks ahead of time.

Paul J. Wrabec Co., Inc., which operates the two offices, started offering online scheduling on a trial basis in December. Like the call-ahead system introduced in the Independence office in 2009, it's free of charge.

Cyril Wrabec, president of the Paul Wrabec Co., said Independence was the first DMV office to offer QLess call-ahead, which allows customers to put themselves in line before arrival, or at a kiosk when they arrive, and then texts customers while they spend their time off site running other errands, for example. He believes the online scheduling also is a first for Missouri. Several other states offer such a service, including Michigan, California and Texas, he said, but Missouri's DMV offices are privately contracted.

“It's a significant expense off our bottom line, but it's convenient for the customers,” he said. “We were trying to come up with additional customer service initiatives to reduce wait times.

“You can't do that the last week of a month – it's so busy – no matter how much staff you have. But this system will put them into the (list of customers), and it basically eliminates waiting.”

In addition, after making an appointment online, the DMV will email the customer a list of documents needed to complete a transaction.

“Not a lot of customers are aware of it, but those who know of it, the feedback has been all positive,” Wrabec said. “I think once customers realize it exists and use it, they'll see what a convenience it is – for customers and employees.

“When you can show up, and in five minutes make your transaction and be back in the parking lot, it makes for a more pleasant experience. The system is only good if people know about it.”

To make an appointment at either the Independence or Sugar Creek office, visit www.metrolicenseoffice.com and pick a date and time. Appointments are offered 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and can be scheduled one day to two weeks in advance. Availability will expand as customer demand increases.

The Paul Wrabec Co. also operates the Kansas City office, and Wrabec said it's planning to implement the advanced scheduling system in its renewal proposal to the state's Department of Revenue.

“We're waiting to hear back,” he said of the proposal.