This is the third state I have lived in and it was time for me to get a Kansas license. I first obtained my license in IL where I took the test when I was 18. I did not really have the need for a car until then. My Dad was actually all upset that I passed the test the first try after it took him a couple of times. I guess he was overconfident when he took the driving test since he had been driving for years in Colombia. If you have driven in Colombia, Chicago driving is a Sunday stroll.
My coworkers started to tell me how I was going to have to take the written test again, which I have not done probably since I got my license. I was thinking, oh great… study the rules of the road one more time… then I heard it was an open book test. I decided to take some time off work to get it done since some people were talking about a two hour ordeal.
The first problem I encountered was that there is no consolidated website for information. The information is all there but it is in like 3 different places and even though it is not conflicting, it is not really concise. After I figured out what I needed to take and how much money I headed out there. I knew from experience that most DMV’s did not take credit cards, so I had cash ready. I knew where the place to get new license plates was, and assumed since the address was very close that it was the same place. I was wrong, the place to get your license is a separate building and it was like going back to the 80’s.
The place did not scream high tech at all, and I started to realize how local government was really not at the same level as some of the other states I have lived in. If it was not for the great service that I was provided I would probably have had a pretty bad experience.
As I walk in, there is a lady that checks to see if you have all the document required which I thought was a very convenient way to check people in. The line was not horrible but it was a little slow. I think their computer system was back in the green screen days but I cannot confirm it. After the eye test I was informed that I had to take the written test which I already knew. I was only worried about making sure that I retain my motorcycle endorsement. Since Michigan uses the endorsement CY for motorcycle instead of M like many other states, she had to look it up. Not only that, she had to print a piece of paper with proof of what she looked up which to me screams non integrated systems.
She was pretty quick and answered all of my questions. She then sent me to the payment lady who was very friendly and gave me the test. She handed me a folded one page test and a very small pamphlet. She then told me it was open book, and I asked her where is the book. She looked at me and then my hand and I realized that the little pamphlet was “the book”. I tried to answer the test without looking at the book and I was about to answer everything but two questions. Thanks to one of my coworkers that had to “prep” me for the test with the 500 ft question, “Thanks Jordan”, which confused the heck out of me. I was able to look it up and finish up. I ended up getting one wrong, I don’t know which one. I also filled in my voter’s registration card which I had not done before. I know, I have not voted here… but I do have the excuse that I have spent most of the last 8 months traveling.
I was off to the picture station where a dude that did not seem pretty happy about taking pictures made me sign on a digital signature pad. I was excited, finally some technology. He told me to smile at Mickey Mouse which made me more uncomfortable than amused (the camera had a little toy Mickey attached to it close to the lens.) I then started to read a notice about a temporary license… that was when I felt like I was in a movie about the past.
I have always received my license right at the DMV in all the other states I have been in. I also happened to work with the MO DOT and I know that they also give you your license the same day. A lot of people in KC have the attitude that it is better to live in the KS side than the MO. I did not care either way until now… KS has one strike against it… I did not expect to have to wait for my license to arrive in the mail.