Kansas officials on Monday announced the extension of hours into the early evening at driver’s license offices in Johnson County.
The new hours will keep the Mission and Olathe offices open from 7 a.m. to 7:45 p.m Monday through Thursday. They now close at 4:45 p.m.
Offices will continue to be open from 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Friday. Driving tests will not be given after 5 p.m. despite the expanded hours.
The new evening hours started Monday at the Mission office, 6507 Johnson Drive, and the Olathe office at the Great Mall of the Great Plains, 20162 W. 151st St.
Those longer hours mark pilot project that will last until May. The hours may be expanded to the rest of the state if they prove popular.
The new schedule comes after local driver’s license offices were plagued with extraordinarily long lines last summer because of a surge in applications for permits to carry concealed guns.
Last August, drivers sometimes waited three to five hours at the Mission office and more than five hours in Olathe.
To prevent that from happening again, the state is adding staff in Johnson County and elsewhere. Twenty-five employees are being hired statewide in a program that will cost $760,000, paid for with driver’s license fees.
The Mission office the state is adding five full-time employees and seven temporary employees. The office previously had 14 employees.
The state the nearly doubled the staff in Olathe to 31, including 10 temporary employees.
The changes do not affect Johnson County offices where drivers pay property taxes on their cars or register their vehicles.
Monday morning, only a handful of people were at the Mission office when Revenue Department Secretary Nick Jordan announced the new evening hours.
Jordan said lines have been reduced since the department decided earlier this fall to open the driver’s license offices on Mondays at it busiest locations in Olathe, Mission, Wichita, Derby, Andover and Topeka.
Yet the latest decision to expand hours will help deal with crowds in the spring and summer caused partly by teens who are trying to get their licenses when they are out of school.
“We know the lines will be back up again,” Jordan said.