CRANSTON, R.I. -- Getting up early and getting in line first at the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles headquarters in Cranston paid off for Hayley Hutchins of Hope.
Arriving at 5:30 a.m., Hayley and her parents, Stephen and Ellen, were the first of some 200 people to get in line outside the new headquarters before it opened to the public at 8:30 a.m. on this Wednesday morning.
Hayley was there to register her first car. She was done by 8:40 a.m.
"It was really nice to be in and out," she said, "even though I spent a few hours on the sidewalk.
The Hutchins family had plenty of company on the sidewalk. At 7:30 a.m., about 40 people had gathered outside the building. Some had brought lawn chairs. By 8:15 a.m., about 200 people were standing or sitting in the cool late-summer air as the sky spit light rain on them. The line wound around to the back of the parking lot.
But the doors did open at 8:30 a.m. as promised. And by 8:43 a.m., the last person in line had made it into the building. They were handed ticket numbers as they passed through the door, so the assembly was orderly.
Since the DMV headquarters has three sets of doors for the public, each of the Hutchinses stood in front of one door to cover all the bases.
But before the doors opened, Ellen Hutchins gave her place in line to Rolando Franco of Pawtucket. Franco was the first customer to arrive at the DMV parking lot. He got there at 5 a.m., but stayed in his car until after members of the Hutchins family got in line.
He also got the first ticket, B100, but Hayley Hutchins was the first to complete her transaction, for those keeping score at home.
Franco didn't complete his business until 9:11 a.m.
By 9 a.m., 44 customers had been called to the counter to conduct their business.
By 10 a.m., customers who showed up at 8:30 or later -- those who hadn't waited outside in the rain -- were finishing their business.
Several customers said they like the new building better, that it's cleaner, the seats are more comfortable.
When they were finished, some customers were disoriented and had trouble figuring out how to get out of the new building. There are no signs to direct them. Staff members stepped up to show them the way.
The DMV is in the Aime J. Forand Building, part of the Pastore Complex at600 New London Ave. (Route2), in Cranston. The DMV is in a dark-colored glass building across the road from the National Guard and Emergency Management Headquarters, next to the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.
-- Reported by Journal staff writer Paul Edward Parker