The city's annual motor vehicle tag and registration renewal operation has been streamlined this year.

D.C. Transporation Director Douglas N. Schneider Jr. says the new one-stop system should eliminate delays for nearly 99 percent of the city's motorists.

As the March 31 tag renewal deadline approached, those who owed outstanding tickets knew and dreaded the long lines and delays of other years. Previously, many motorists who owed outstanding tickets had to make three separate stops -- one to find out how much money they owed, another to make the payment and a third to apply for tag renewal.

Last year, the three-step process was cut by one step: persons with outstanding tickets were notified by mail of the amount they owed.

Now, motorists who owe fines may pay them in full and purchase their tags all in a single mail-in or stop-in procedure at any tag purchase location.

Officials are pushing the mail-in option in order to speed things up. However, those who wish to pay in person may go to Room 1065 of the Municipal Center, through the 301 C St. NW entrance, from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Tag renewal application forms have already been mailed and may be used to purchase tags by mail until March 15 or in person through March 31. Persons who had no debts outstanding received a three-part form and those who had unpaid tickets received a special five-part form, which included ticket numbers and the amount owed on outstanding tickets.

No personal checks will be accepted for tickets. Municipal Center will accept cash, certified checks or money orders, but no cash will be accepted at other payment locations.

Persons who want to dispute tickets, however, will need to make an extra stop. They must first appear in person in the Office of Traffic Adjudication on the ground floor of 600 Indiana Ave. NW.

This year's tag fees are the same as last year's -- $38, $45, $71 and $79 for noncommercial vehicles depending on weight.

Beginning in March, motorists may also pay tickets and purchase tags at the drive-through window of the Northeast Inspection Station, 1827 West Virginia Ave. NE, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 8:15 and to 4 p.m. Saturdays, March 22 and 29. There will be no inspections at the station during March.

Beginning March 17, tags may be purchased and outstandng tickets paid at mobile units in the Carter Barron parking lot, 16th and Kennedy streets NW, and the Fort Dupont Ice Skating Rink parking lot on Ely Place SE, between Minnesota Avenue and Ridge Road. Both locations will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, March 22 and 29.

Visa or Mastercharge payments will be accepted for tickets only through March 14 at 600 Indiana Ave. NW from 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on weekdays.Persons who pay for tickets by credit card should then go to the Municipal Center to obtain their tag applications.

Motorists who haven't received tag renewal applications in the mail may pick them up in Room 1005 of the Municipal Center from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Those who owe outstanding debts because of bad checks should go to Room 1003.