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Shop covers inspection, registration

July 13, 1997

By KAREN MASTERSON

Staff Writer

A Hagerstown automotive shop can now inspect, order a new title and issue license plates all under the same roof.

For $30, car owners can skip the trip to the Motor Vehicle Administration and get their title and license plates from Frederick Street Automotive Inc., according to shop manager Allen Stone.

Add another $42 and the shop will also provide an inspection.

Frederick Street Automotive, which specializes in transmissions and air conditioning, has been a Maryland state inspection station for years. Now it's the only place in Washington County where car owners can receive the tag and title service outside MVA.

The shop was approved to start the electronic registration service Monday with the help of a California company called Computer Vehicle Registration. CVR, along with VIN-NET, won bids from the state to provide the MVA link.

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Stone said he can send the necessary information to the MVA and receive title and tag approval in five minutes.

"We give you the tags, the title comes in the mail," he said.

Customers pay him the usual MVA fees. They include $70-$97 for the tags, depending on the weight of the car, and 5 percent sales tax. Stone tacks another $30 onto that for the computerized service.

Eda M. Ramey of Sharpsburg was thrilled to miss the lines at MVA. "He's done all the leg work. Now all I have to do is drive away," she said.

At 71 years old, Ramey said the one-stop-shopping in vehicle paperwork was very convenient for her and the people she relies on. "I have to depend on other people to help me. This was far more convenient," she said.

Stone was able to pick up Ramey's unregistered car from her house using a special MVA "transporter" tag. He includes the pickup service in the $30 for Hagerstown residents, he said. People outside the city are charged a small fee, depending on their location.

Frederick Street Automotive is one of five service stations in the state providing computerized tag and title service. All other clients of CVR and VIN-NET are car dealerships.

According to Jim Lang, MVA spokesman, car dealerships have been able to issue titles and tags via computer for several years. However, electronic registration like Frederick Street Automotive's service is new.

In 1995, the state approved CVR's bid to develop and lease the necessary hardware and software for linking dealerships to the MVA, Lang said.

"We receive requests, we approve requests and then they go online," Lang said describing how the registration process works. The first service went online Feb. 28, he said.

Staff Writer Samantha Krulewitz contributed to this story.

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