Marc Fein, NBC 5 News
The Texas Department of Public Safety cut the ribbon on a new DPS Driver License Mega Center in Garland that opens for the public at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
One of the six Department of Public Safety "megacenters" opens in Garland on Wednesday.
DPS is spending $63 million to open six megacenters across the state would improve the wait times for driver licenses. Two of the centers are planned for North Texas.
An NBC 5 investigation has found that some Texans experienced three- and four-hour waits at DPS driver license offices.
DPS Director Steve McCraw said the megacenters are an improvement that is long overdue.
"We've outstripped our ability to deliver a decent service on something that's so fundamental as providing a driver's license, and the only way we can do that is with more people, more space and leveraging technology," he said.
"In the minds of most people, I tell you, when they look at what service is, it's wait -- it's not superior service," Garland Mayor Ronald E. Jones said.
The facility will allow people to make an appointment with a smartphone and then be notified their turn is up.
"The wait times are minimal," said Paul Watkins, deputy assistant director for driver's license customer operations. "I mean, it's like you walk in, walk to the counter, get processed and walk out the door. It's phenomenal."
The facility is 24,000 square feet with 22 customer service stations. It will have 45 full-time employees and the capacity to move almost 1,000 transactions a day.
Derek Leblanc, of DPS customer service, said the goal is to be faster and friendlier.
"It's just a whole new atmosphere, a whole new take on customer service for the state of Texas, the driver's license division," he said.
The state's first megacenter opened in the Austin area. Two opened in Houston last week, and one in scheduled to open in Fort Worth in January.
The Garland office opens Wednesday and will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.