Six hours to 10 minutes: Vehicle for hire application process transforms

Motor Vehicle Division improvement benefits owners of taxi, limo firms

PHOENIX – When the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division took over the Department of Weights and Measures’ Vehicle for Hire program, it immediately began looking for ways to streamline the application process as part of an agency-wide commitment to continuous improvement.

The result: MVD reduced what had been a six-hour application process for owners of taxi, livery vehicle and limousine companies to just 10 minutes.

The application process used to be entirely manual for both applicants and staff, which was time-consuming and involved going back and forth between state employees and business owners. Now it’s offered online at, with business owners filling in the information themselves.

Business owners used to wait for vehicle insurance information to show up in MVD’s database before proceeding with their applications. Now MVD employees can enter the information themselves on behalf of insurance companies.

The 8,500 taxis, limos and other vehicles listed in the database once had to be inspected annually, creating an aggravating process for both inspectors and business owners. Now vehicles are inspected randomly as well as when complaints are received.

“We took an outdated, inefficient application process and applied modern technology and methods to it,” said Tom Opalka, MVD commercial driver license, medical review and vehicle for hire program manager, who oversaw this process improvement. “We’re now able to save our customers time ‒ and money ‒ by automating much of the process and streamlining the rest.”

Due to two pending laws coming out of this year’s legislative session, more improvements are coming to the Vehicle for Hire program later this month.  Instead of requiring a company to apply for an annual permit for each taxi, livery vehicle and limousine, MVD will issue one permit to the company for all of its vehicles to operate for three years at a time – similar to how transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft are permitted.

Streamlining the Vehicle for Hire program is just one example of how the Motor Vehicle Division is, like ADOT as a whole, continuously improving to benefit Arizonans.

For information on the Motor Vehicle Division, visit