The Kona DMV is no Picnic but the State Workers are Great

Kona DMV

Very few people have a good feeling about the DMV, much less the Kona DMV. However, from what I read about the long lines and problems lately at the DMV in Sacramento, I am much happier going to Kona DMV. You should know, too, that if you ship a car to Kona, whether it is from a neighboring island like my vehicle or from the mainland, you need to eventually register it in Kona.

The upside is the Big Island has the cheapest rates. It costs almost $300 to register my car in Maui, but in Kona, it is only $175.

Silly me, I thought Hawaii was its own state so it wouldn’t matter which county I registered the car in but it does. The dealer in Maui had the car inspected in Honolulu. That vehicle inspection is worthless in Hawaii County. Owners need to have the vehicle inspected again, even if the existing inspection has not expired.

I discovered all of this shortly after arriving at the Kona DMV. The deal is you line up outside. Granted, you’re covered overhead, but it is still HOT, little air circulation. Because everybody is in the same proverbial boiling pot, there was much conversation in line. Hey, I yelled out, do you guys remember the DMV sloths in that movie Zootopia? High fives.

At one time, the “greeter” was stationed outside but when I met her, she seemed like a relatively intelligent individual, which is why she is stationed inside the air-conditioned building, I imagine.

After you stand in line for 30 minutes (to an hour), you get a ticket number. I did not realize that after buying a car in Hawaii that I would have to go to the Kona DMV in person to register it again. Assuming your paperwork is in order. My paperwork was not in order because I had a registration from Maui. I also had a renewal notice and a perfectly valid vehicle inspection certificate from Honolulu. The greeter gave me directions to the Vehicle Inspection place down the street.

Of course, I cannot follow directions. Especially when they are given as take a left and after a driveway take another left and go two blocks from the end before you turn right. All I hear is it’s by Costco. So naturally I turned into the wrong driveway. As a person who is not afraid to ask for directions, I accosted the fellow in the sign shop.

He pointed me to a Subaru mechanic shop a few doors down. What the hey, I say to myself, I own a Subaru, how lucky is that? Turned out that was not the Vehicle Inspection place. But they could do it for their own customers. Not only did they give me a vehicle inspection, but they gave me the phone number of the senior inspector at the Kona DMV so he could sign off on it as I entered the crosswalk.

See? My life is now back to normal, and the fairies or angels or whatever forces of nature tend to continually sprinkle goodness in my path, well, they have returned. Not like a few days ago when everything went wrong because life threw curveballs at me. One after the other. Which was so weird and unusual.

kona dmv

The inspector gave me a ticket number so I could begin my wait. A really nice thing about the Kona DMV is there is a sandwich store between the waiting area and the parking lot. The guy who runs the store is blind so, since he doesn’t pay sales tax, he doesn’t ask his customers to pay it, either.

When I sat down in the waiting area, which you can see in the above photo, I gobbled my sandwich. Shortly, a young Asian girl toting a Coach bag, dressed in designers, dripping bling attached to her Apple Watch and presenting a perfect purple and pink manicure spoke to me. She wanted to know if all of the road tests had been canceled.

She had no ticket for entrance and did not want to stand in the line. I encouraged to just walk in the door. You can do it, nobody will say anything, I said. Just open the door and go in. Approach the greeter to deliver your quick question. I am such a troublemaker, always looking to find a way to buck the system. Most people are sheep. My methods only work because people are sheep. Can’t have everybody being a rebel.

She didn’t want to do it. It was disrespectful to all the people waiting in the line that she did not want to wait in.

The woman across from us also pitched in. You can’t sit there and do nothing, she admonished. Either go in the door or stand in the line. Sitting here is pointless.

Just before they called my name, at the 90-minute mark, the young girl bravely stood up, took a deep breath, smoothed her hair and marched in the door. She emerged two seconds later with a big smile on her face. Question answered. Road tests were not canceled. And this is what you have to do in Hawaii to get answers.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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