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Audit: Vegas taxis overcharged $15M on airport rides

By Michelle Rindels

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 07:50 a.m. HST, Apr 23, 2013


LAS VEGAS » Clark County taxicab drivers taking tourists on the scenic route to and from the airport overcharged their passengers an estimated $14.8 million last year, according to a legislative audit released Monday.

The report said the Nevada Taxicab Authority needs to do more to prevent these roundabout rides, which are meant to run up the meter and accounted for 22.5 percent of the 2,730 airport trips that auditors reviewed.

"Taxicab trips are often the first and last experience tourists have in Las Vegas," auditors wrote. "Therefore, long hauling may result in tourists having a negative experience."

The director of the taxicab authority, which oversees the 16 cab companies in Clark County and their estimated 9,000 drivers, said his administration accepted the recommendations and would take steps to address the findings.

"The audit of internal processes and procedures yielded valuable information that will assist the Taxicab Authority in achieving its mission," authority administrator Charles Harvey said in a statement.

The report said the authority had not audited individual taxicab companies for more than 3 1/2 years, making it difficult for the authority to ensure companies are following the law. State auditors said more than half of the 600 driver trip sheets they reviewed didn't have the proper time stamps that would ensure drivers aren't working too many hours and taking to the roads while fatigued.

While the Legislature allocated more funds in 2003 so the authority could audit the cab companies, authority managers were assigning staff members to other tasks instead of audits, the report said.

Auditors also recommended the authority keep better tabs on its inventory of medallions — the metal plates that authorize a taxi to operate. One company received an extra medallion and kept it for about 14 months, the report said, while another reported two-thirds of its medallions had been lost or stolen since 2006.

Each permanent medallion generates about $190,000 in gross revenue each year, officials said.

Sloppy records could allow taxi companies to gain an unauthorized share of the market, and make it difficult for taxicab authority board members to determine whether they should authorize more cabs on the road.

Having too few medallions means passengers would have to wait too long for their ride, while having too many leaves too little work for drivers and encourages them to long-haul to make up for lost revenue, the report said.

The taxicab authority is required to respond to the audit with a plan of action by July 17. It's also required to follow up with a six-month progress report by Jan. 17.







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OldDiver wrote:
Not surprised. The ride seemed shorter where ever I went once I started to rent cars there.
on April 22,2013 | 02:54PM
allie wrote:
Las vegas is one huge rip-off as we know. Stay away from it.
on April 22,2013 | 03:01PM
kainalu wrote:
Rip off? It's a travel destination. One of the cheaper ones all things considered. If gambling is a choice instead of an addiction, Las Vegas is well worth the dollars spent. I go there for concerts. The MGM Grand a great concert venue.
on April 23,2013 | 08:43AM
iwanaknow wrote:
This happened to us last Nov 2012 ..........the cabbie took the long way via the I-15 Freeway.............I shoulda raised a stink.
on April 22,2013 | 03:13PM
AhiPoke wrote:
The practice is called "tunneling". It involves taxis leaving the airport for strip hotels going south via the tunnel versus north to get to Paradise Road. That route may be faster at times, depending on where you're going, but is longer and therefore more costly. When entering the cab I say, "don't go through the tunnel" and I've never had a problem. If you're going downtown it's probably best to go via the tunnel.
on April 22,2013 | 03:25PM
808ikea wrote:
That is a good suggestion. The taxi drivers that I have spoken to call it "long hauling", and supposedly the fines and suspension are pretty severe if they are caught doing it.
on April 23,2013 | 09:14AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
As long as you have taxis versus straight rail transits, you will always have rip offs. Japan and Korea have rail terminals at the airport. Straight line into the city.
on April 22,2013 | 03:29PM
Hawaii001 wrote:
Two ways as I see it: Extend the LV monorail to the airport OR use the $8 one-way shuttles that take you directly to your hotel. That'll put the cabbies out of business out of business so fast, they won't know what hit 'em.
on April 22,2013 | 03:33PM
hanalei395 wrote:
They don't have enough shuttles. There are always long lines and long waits, especially for the shuttles to downtown.
on April 22,2013 | 03:46PM
808ikea wrote:
I haven't had many problems with the availability of shuttles to downtown, but that may be because I catch the red eye flight to LV. The only downside of catching the shuttle is if you are the last one to be dropped off. It normally takes 45 to 60 minutes from the time you jump in to the shuttle to get to the hotel.
on April 23,2013 | 09:23AM
808comp wrote:
Taking advantage of the visitors who does not know the town. Bet it happens everywhere,including Hawaii.
on April 22,2013 | 05:13PM
mikethenovice wrote:
That's the American way. Rip each other off.
on April 22,2013 | 06:49PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Just don't tip 'em.
on April 22,2013 | 06:49PM
localguy wrote:
In Malaysia the main airport solved this problem back in the 90s. At the taxi are is a booth where you tell the person where you are going. You pay them, they give you a travel chit. Give the chit to the first taxi in line and off you go. No way can the driver overcharge you. Yet in the Nei and Las Vegas we find total incompetence with taxi management. Everyone trying to stick it to the traveler. No integrity, no honor, no pride in solving the problem. Typical bureaucrats in charge.
on April 22,2013 | 07:31PM
localguy wrote:
In Malaysia the main airport solved this problem back in the 90s. At the taxi are is a booth where you tell the person where you are going. You pay them, they give you a travel receipt. Give the receipt to the first taxi in line and off you go. No way can the driver overcharge you. Yet in the Nei and Las Vegas we find total incompetence with taxi management. Everyone trying to stick it to the traveler. No integrity, no honor, no pride in solving the problem. Typical bureaucrats in charge.
on April 22,2013 | 07:31PM
lowtone123 wrote:
Is this news to anyone who rides in a taxi while on vacation? Doesn't even have to in Vegas, could be anywhere where you may not familiar with the area.
on April 23,2013 | 09:48AM
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