‘Convenient?’ MVC has brought back the $1.50 online service fee
Back in 2016, as part of an effort to speed up wait times at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Agency offices, the MVC eliminated the 50-cent to $1.50 convenience fees that motorists were charged for a variety of online services, including registration renewals.
A few months ago, the convenience fee was quietly reinstated.
Now a Jersey lawmaker is pushing a plan to have the fee eliminated for good.
Assemblyman Kevin Rooney, R-Passaic, said his legislation would permanently eliminate any motor vehicle fees that are typically different from what you’re charged when you go to a motor vehicle agency.
“Long lines are always something you have to deal with. We need to do everything in our power to have residents of the state of New Jersey be able to do as much online as possible without paying additional fees," he said.
Rooney said that in a high tax state like New Jersey, “where it’s difficult to get around, between NJ Transit problems, the potholes, we need to do everything in our power to make it more convenient for using that service.”
A spokesman for the MVC declined to comment on how much money the reinstatement of the convenience fee, now called a service fee, and instructed New Jersey 101.5 to file an open public records request to obtain more information.
After New Jersey 101.5 first published this article, the MVC explained that the agency will make no profit from the service fee because the amount is used to cover the fees charged by the credit card companies.
Spokesman Jim Hooker said the Christie administration had eliminated the fees in hopes that the public would use the website more but the MVC saw no increase in the number of people using the online services.
"It was just a taxpayer giveaway to the credit card payment company. So we stopped it," he said.
Rooney said that eliminating the convenience fee does not affect New Jersey’s bond rating and the idea is getting approval from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities committee for consideration.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to include more information from the MVC.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com