360 458 MassDOT RMV

December 2016

How Massrmv.com has expanded since becoming the first jurisdiction to offer online services in 1996

Back in the earlier days of the internet, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles became the first jurisdiction in the United States to offer online services through its website. Twenty years later, the Massachusetts RMV boasts one of the most comprehensive online services websites among jurisdictions in North America and has taken major steps to ensure its customers have a quick and easy digital experience.

MassRMV.com, the jurisdiction’s website, allows customers to perform a number of traditional services without leaving their homes. Massachusetts residents can renew their vehicle registration, ID card or driver’s license; schedule and pre-pay for their driving test; and perform a number of other functions that previously required a visit to a brick-and-mortar location. By offering these services online, Massachusetts has removed a significant amount of hassle from the process, allowing customers to skip the line. It also paved the way for other jurisdictions to follow suit.

“Administrators are aware there is a demand to move away from the traditional brick-and-mortar service model,” says Erin Deveney, registrar for the Massachusetts RMV. “First and foremost, it’s easier for us to bring our services to customers, as opposed to them coming to us.”

The Registry started offering online services back in 1996, a time when the jurisdiction was under intense scrutiny from the Massachusetts legislature. After complaints about poor branch service delivery, the jurisdiction began experimenting with alternative methods of service, including expanding its phone center and beginning a venture onto the internet. Although Deveney would admit that the first online services were “rudimentary,” the jurisdiction expanded services rapidly as internet use became more widespread.

When the economic recession struck in 2008, many jurisdictions were hit with massive budget cuts, and Massachusetts was no exception. “We were in a pattern of a lull, not changing or offering anything new,” Deveney says of the years following the recession. But when Gov. Charlie Baker was sworn into office in 2015, his leadership enabled the jurisdiction to refocus attention on online services and expand them.

By the end of 2016, the Massachusetts RMV will have two additional functions added to its new “myRMV” feature to give customers a more personalized online service experience. First, it will implement a user ID and password system for customers to use when they log on, saving them the hassle of entering their personal information every time they use the site. Second, the online account will include registration renewals and duplicate registrations and titles.

Within the next several years, the Massachusetts RMV hopes to replace its mainframe, which Deveney jokes is “30 years old.” But even in its current state, MassRMV.com provides a comprehensive list of online services and continues to set the standard for other jurisdictions nationwide. It hopes to spread the word about its online services and show all customers how easy it is to skip the line.

“Very frequently, we will get customers who don’t know the Registry has a website,” Deveney says. “But then, we will equally get those customers who say, ‘Wow, I just renewed my registration online, and got it in three days!’ I think, obviously, more of our counterparts are going to want to have that service option.”