The startup that made headlines for selling off DMV appointments at $20 a pop is standing for Bay Area residents again. Oakland-based startup YoGov just announced a new DMV Line Concierge Service today, where you can hire someone to stand in line at the DMV for you, and they’ll text you within 30 minutes of your number being called.
“Instead of you having to show up at the DMV and wait in line, we have concierges that will wait for you,” YoGov founder and CEO Ryder Pearce tells SF Weekly. “They’ll give you a heads up before you have to show up.”
The service, which officially launched today, is different from YoGov’s online DMV expedited appointment platform that charges $19.99 for an appointment “within 2-3 weeks” and according to the San Francisco Chronicle has drawn the attention of the DMV’s investigative unit. This new DMV Line Concierge charges about $25 hourly for someone to simply stand in line for you, either for the indoor ‘waiting for your number to be called’ or the outdoor pre-check in before you’re even in the building.
“Our data are showing that the waits are around two to three hours pre-check in, on average,” Pearce tells us. “Once you get your number, that wait can be another two, three, to four hours, especially these last few months.”
You will need to show up for that ‘midpoint’ check-in at which you show your documents and get assigned a number. But you can then hand that number to a YoGov concierge, who will wait in line for you even longer.
YoGov’s DMV Line Concierge has secretly existed in beta form for a few weeks.
“It’s incredibly popular,” says Pearce. “We haven’t done any external-facing promotions for this yet, only within our users. We have our express appointments, where we try to look for quicker appointments. In some cases where we can’t find express appointments, we’ve also mentioned our Line Concierge Service. We’ve had a ton of demand over the past couple weeks while we’ve had this in beta.”
The service is currently only available in the Bay Area, where DMV wait times average eight hours in the era of the new Real ID standards causing significantly longer waits.
The DMV is still investigating whether YoGov’s online ‘appointment hacking’ is a legal charge for a free government service, and the express DMV appointments also generated criticism for handing unfair advantages to wealthier people with more digital access. DMV Line Concierge addresses that critique by offering free, subsidized waits.
“We’re doing free trips for seniors, the disabled, pregnant women, and low income people,” according to Pearce. “If you have the ability to pay, you’re subsidizing people who probably need it the most.”
While the DMV is investigating the legality of selling their appointments online at a cost, YoGov does not anticipate their new hired line-standers will cause any concern with the department.
“I think they do see that what they see we’re doing is trying to alleviate the pressure they have,” Pearce tells SF Weekly. “There’s no blowback. TaskRabbit has given this option in the past. The DMV knows that a lot of people can’t wait outside for two to three hours.”
YoGov also offers some TSA PreCheck and passport renewal programs, but their DMV-related services are the most popular right now for obvious humongous waiting line reasons. “Just focusing on the DMV is important enough,” Pearce says.