In January 2020, Alaska’s first ever mobile DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) rolled into the snow-covered streets of New Stuyahok, a rural community in Bristol Bay. The mobile DMV is a long-awaited solution to one of rural Alaska’s challenges—allowing residents to take their driver’s test and obtain a license without the time and expense of traveling to one of the few DMV offices in the region. In fact, only two of Bristol Bay’s 31 communities—Dillingham and King Salmon—have DMV offices.
The timing of this innovative new project is key. Beginning on October 1, 2020, all Alaska residents will need a state-issued REAL ID to travel on domestic commercial airlines or access military bases and other Federal facilities. REAL ID is an enhanced form of identification that meets certain federal security standards that were implemented in the wake of 9/11. Particularly because air travel will be impacted in just a few months, getting your REAL ID now is highly recommended.
Because rural Alaska residents typically face several obstacles to get their driver’s license—many people go without. This limits their eligibility for employment and training opportunities. So the mobile DMV has the potential to open new doors to economic and workforce development for residents in our region, as well.
The effort is the result of over a year of partnership and coordination between BBNC and the State of Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles. It’s a great example of how business and government can work together to elevate and strengthen the communities in Bristol Bay. BBNC’s Village Resource Specialist Faith Andrew has been on the ground working with community leaders and members to get the program up and running locally.
“BBNC is very excited for this partnership with the State of Alaska. A mobile DMV service has the potential to eliminate the barriers Alaskan’s face to obtain their driver’s license and State ID.” Jason Metrokin, BBNC President & CEO
BBNC is expanding the program to other villages after the pilot program in New Stuyahok and will continue to keep shareholders and residents of Bristol Bay up-to-date about the mobile DMV.