Appointments for first-time drivers to take the test or apply for a permit are nearly impossible to get on the MVC website, according to many frustrated parents and teens trying to make the appointments at all hours only to come up empty.

But the MVC gave aspiring new drivers some hope for at least one of the issues faced by its customers: getting an appointment for a written test.

"Currently there is very high demand for these appointments due to a combination of factors that include health and staffing challenges related to COVID-19, more students seeking permits and knowledge tests at agencies now since they had difficulty securing them through schools last year, and expanded eligibility for new driver licenses," spokesman William Connolly told New Jersey 101.5.

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When Gov. Phil Murphy was asked about the issue during Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing, MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton texted an answer to the governor.

"We are piloting a new program of offsite testing on Saturday in Wanaque in partnership with Passaic County Community College and using one of our mobile units for support. If successful we will be able to add hundreds in test appointments over the next few months," Fulton said.

NJ MVC website
NJ MVC website (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

Connolly said that the number of permits being issued by the MVC is up 25% compared to 2020 and the agency has taken several other steps to make appointments available including an increase in the number of transactions available on the agency's website and enhancing staffing.

As for having to try at midnight to make an appointment that's not likely to change, according to Connolly.

"As we work to better meet the historically high demand for new licenses at agencies, we urge customers to have patience. The online scheduler at adds more appointments automatically each day, overnight, scheduled up to 60 days in advance aside from future Sundays and holidays when we’re closed," Connolly said.

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