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Hamden AAA Northeast offices (Google Earth)

At a time when the Department of Motor Vehicles was hoping it could lean more heavily on its private partners, the head of a motor club with offices in eight southwestern cities and towns announced it would no longer be serving members of the general public.

AAA Northeast, which has offices in Branford, Danbury, Fairfield, Hamden, Milford, Norwalk, Stamford, and Waterbury, told state officials Monday that it would no longer be offering licensing services to members of the general public. Instead, only members of its club will be able to receive services in those locations.

AAA Allied, which has offices in Avon, Cromwell, Enfield, Manchester, Old Saybrook, Plainville, Waterford, and West Hartford, will continue to serve members of the public in those locations.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the decision to by AAA Northeast to sever its relationship with the Department of Motor Vehicles was “unacceptable.”

In a letter to AAA Northeast President and CEO Mark A. Shaw, Malloy wrote that he would take legal action if necessary to make sure that doesn’t happen. He reminded Shaw that there’s a 60-day termination notice in its contract with the DMV and he will “take any and all necessary legal steps to resolve this matter.”

“AAA Northeast’s decision to stop servicing non-members is rather shocking since Connecticut has always valued our working relationship with AAA,” Malloy said. “The State of Connecticut and AAA have enjoyed a mutually beneficial private-public partnership for many years. Up to this point, the history of our partnership has been nothing but positive.”

The Department of Motor Vehicles, which has struggled to implement a new computer system, said it was disappointed in the action taken by AAA Northeast and hopes it will reverse its decision. The motor club has offered services to the public since 1992.

In 2016, AAA affiliates approached the DMV to express an interest in performing registration renewal services, in addition to licensing, to help lower DMV wait-times.

“With support from the legislature and my office, this was made a reality,” Malloy said.

Malloy also detailed in the letter the amount of money the state has given the motor club, including $304,000 annually through training, IT support, telecommunications equipment, and fiscal oversight.

“DMV and AAA Northeast have had a beneficial and productive relationship that has served the general public well until your recent, unilateral decision to stop serving non-members,” Malloy said.

AAA Northeast said the decision was necessary because the number of office transactions has nearly doubled and the number of non-member transactions has increased from 17 percent five years ago to almost 50 percent in 2016.

“Today we have made the difficult decision that we can no longer effectively service the volume of DMV customers visiting our offices without negatively impacting services to our members,” AAA Northeast said in a statement. “Over the past five years, two material changes to the AAA –DMV program have created serious challenges to the delivery of DMV services in AAA Northeast’s offices in New Haven, Litchfield and Fairfield counties.”