Erie County Auto Bureau enters phase two of reopening

Jul 6, 2020

Applications for a learner's permit, commercial and motorcycle licenses will be taken by the Erie County Auto Bureau as it enters Phase Two of its reopening strategy this week. But in anticipation of a large volume of requests, the Erie County Clerk says the application process will be handled by appointments only.

Erie County  Clerk Michael Kearns announced the beginning of Phase Two Monday morning outside Old County Hall. His office was beginning to schedule appointments for learner's permits and driver's license testing the same day, he declared, while testing would begin on Wednesday.

Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns speaks in downtown Buffalo Monday about his office's start of Phase Two restoration of services.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Most appointments could be scheduled via the Clerk's Office website. Commercial CDL class license appointments, however, are to be booked by calling (716) 858-7450. Kearns explained the appointment system they've set up is to accommodate the anticipated volume of requests.

"We're anticipating nearly one thousand people requesting appointments per week," Kearns said. "So, we have added a specific appointment system for people getting a Class D or a class permit driver's license, someone who is getting their learner's permit."

Kearns acknowledged the demand from the public to process requests but explained that they had been waiting for guidelines from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. He also assured applicants not to fret if they cannot book an appointment as early as Wednesday. Slots will be available through Saturday.

Kearns also praised his personnel for their efficiency during Phase One and earlier in the COVID-related "pause." He said average times to complete a transaction, last week at the Southtowns auto bureau location, were no longer than three minutes. He also stated that his staff handled 13,000 curbside transactions earlier in the pandemic.

"The jokes about the Auto Bureau, and saying that you're going to be there for hours, those are going to be done," Kearns declared.