Tuesday, November 11, 2003
The Steamboat Springs driver's license office was packed Wednesday. People took every chair, perched on the windowsill and even sat on the floor while waiting in line to talk to the office's one temporary employee, on the one day a week the office is now open.
One woman drove up to the curb, looked inside, shook her head and drove away.
While having the office open once a week is far better than not having a local licensing branch at all, people waiting said the few hours it is open Wednesdays are simply not enough for the amount of people who need its services.
With ski-season hiring in full swing, the shortened hours are particularly problematic for those who need commercial driver's licenses for seasonal shuttle-driver positions.
The problem likely will not be resolved any time soon, however. The office cannot reopen until someone is hired and trained to run it, but no one has applied for a full-time position of manager, said Diane Reimer, public information officer for the Department of Revenue.
"There's nobody coming on board," Reimer said. "There's nobody on the waiting list. It will continue to be open one day a week. We're still looking for someone, but there's nothing in the works now."
Some people are making the 45-minute drive to Craig to get their CDLs, while others brave the wait at the Steamboat office. Officers at the Craig DMV say they have seen more people in their lines recently as a result of Steamboat's abbreviated service.
Lisa Van Pelt, general manager of The Ranch at Steamboat, has been taking applications for potential shuttle drivers for the upcoming ski season and said several have been discouraged from pursuing the job altogether because of the difficulty in getting a CDL.
"I don't blame them," Van Pelt said. "I certainly wouldn't want to park and go wait in line. We don't understand why this one can't be open more. It seems we have more of a requirement for drivers over here. I just wish they would serve the community better. I don't see why they can't bring the people from Craig over more often."
Alpine Taxi driver manager Bobby O'Toole is suffering from the same hiring and certification challenges.
"To say the least, it's a thorn in our side," he said. "With it only being open one day a week, I just send people straight to Craig."
Some applicants who choose to apply for their licenses at the Steamboat driver's license office said they had picked up CDL booklets, then returned a week later after studying to take the written exam, Van Pelt said.
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