Staff Shortages, New Residents Mean Long Lines At Driver's License Bureaus

Frustration can best describe the feelings of those waiting inside the Gulfport Mississippi Driver's License Bureau, located off Three Rivers Road. All you have to do is look at their faces.

"My husband brought me here yesterday. It was an all day process, they just gave up. We came this morning," Theressa Williams said.

The average wait to be served once you pull a number is between three and four hours.

"Why did they close the one in Saucier? The building is still sitting there empty. They had eight tellers up there, they have two here," David Hogue said. "We've been here two hours and they were on number 15, they are on number 23 now. We've got number 83."

Construction worker David Hogue and his friends brought their own chairs and waited outside in the heat for their number to be called.

"You miss a whole day's work. I know people have things to do, just like me. I've got a check to cash. My ID has expired, but I can't cash it because I can't get in the building quick enough to be able to get to a bank on time. It's just a bunch of bull really," Jay Foley said.

Most say the solution would be for the License Bureau to hire more workers.

"I just don't think they have enough staff here, and the building is not big enough. When they were up in Saucier, they went a lot faster than here," Kevin Simmerman said.

The state opened license bureaus in trailers after Katrina damaged or destroyed three of the four coast offices. The Saucier office wasn't damaged, but closed when the state lost its lease on the building.

Shirley Santa Cruz with the Mississippi License Bureau said, "We're set up for four people and that's what we've got at each station."

Santa Cruz works in the D'Iberville License Bureau. She admits the wait in Gulfport is three to four hours. The wait is about half that in D'iberville.

Santa Cruz says the long lines just can't be helped.

"Renewals are easy and quick, but we're just having so many people moving in here from out of state, there's kids wanting permits, it takes a while. And the road tests, we're doing the best we can," Santa Cruz said.

Santa Cruz says the Driver's License Bureau is also short handed. There are two openings that haven't been filled.

Governor Haley Barbour agrees the situation with licence bureaus is terrible. He was visiting the coast Friday and says something needs to be done about it.

"It's not acceptable to have to spend the afternoon there. We're working on things that we can do to improve this. It might take legislation," Gov. Barbour told WLOX News.

All Mississippi Drivers License Bureaus are open weekdays from 8am-5pm.

There is a bot of good news. Santa Cruz told WLOX News that there are plans to open up an office in the Woolmarket area for those needing a Commercial Driver's License.

And don't forget, you can avoid the lines completely by renewing your license online at