Arizona Department of Weights and Measures' sole taxi inspector J.J. Stroh found two minor violations with Prescott Dial-A-Ride Thursday. Dial-A-Ride owner and CEO Steve Silvernale made the corrections Friday and his vehicles are back in service.
Stroh found that Dial-A-Ride's 14 metered vehicles did not have "Z" license plates - plates that begin with "3Z" or "4Z" - and some meters did not have security tabs to prevent tampering. Stroh gave Silvernale 24-hours to comply with the state regulation before he would authorize the official inspection window sticker. Stroh gave passing grades and window stickers to Dial-A-Ride's seven limousines and 11 vans.
"The most important thing is Dial-A-Ride has the proper insurance," Weights and Measures Public Information Director Steve Meissner said Monday. "Taxi companies in Arizona must have $300,000 policies that protect the driver, other motorists
Silvernale said he carries $1 million insurance policies.
Silvernale said he "reluctantly" put "Z" plates on the 14 non-compliant vehicles Friday and all of his meters have the proper security tabs. Silvernale said the 14 vehicles are not taxicabs.
"We are not a taxi company. We transport people from door to door for a fee," he said. "For us to do business by the law, we got 'commercial' plates from ADOT. (Weights and Measures) wanted us to change our plates. ADOT gave us the commercial plates."
How Dial-A-Ride operates is the crux of the debate.
"Prescott Dial-A-Ride is operating as a livery service and as such, they are not allowed to pick up passengers from the street," Meissner said.
"We are not in the taxicab business, so we do not fall into that classification," Silvernale counters. "We are a professional transportation company. We fall in that requirement."
Silvernale said he will be meeting with officials at Weights and Measures to clarify Dial-A-Ride's operations.
Stroh said Tri-City Cab Company's six cars and AAA Taxi's four cars comply with Weights and Measures' taxi service requirements.
"We will be back and check with the Prescott Police Department to make sure Dial-A-Ride is complying. If Dial-A-Ride has not complied by then, we'll be having a very different conversation," Meissner said.
Meissner cannot say when Stroh will be able to make a return visit to Dial-A-Ride.
"We've given Dial-A-Ride a 'reasonable' amount of time to comply," Meissner added. "If August rolls around and they're not in compliance, I think that's beyond a reasonable amount of time.