Audit finds long-hauling costing cab customers millions
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
It's something you've heard about for years in Las Vegas, and it might be worse than you think.
On Monday, the Nevada Legislature released the results of an audit of the taxicab industry in Clark County. It indicates long-hauling, when a cab driver takes a longer route than needed to increase the fare amount, is rampant in the city.
According to the audit, it's estimated long-hauling occurs 22.5 percent of the time during trips to and from McCarran Airport. That represents an overpayment of $14.8 million in 2012 alone.
The audit suggests the Taxicab Authority can combat long-hauling by keeping an accurate record of taxicab medallion allocations. Too few medallions increases wait times for customers while too many reduces the number of trips drivers can make, increasing the likelihood of long-hauling.
The audit includes two recommendations for detecting and deterring long-hauling, three for determining medallion allocation and three for proper controls over cash receipts.
Meanwhile taxicab drivers told FOX5 it is easy to blame them for the long-hauling problem, but really the taxicab companies create the pressure to long-haul.
"I'm driving 30 years in town. Don't you think I know how to drive? I'm not stealing," said Brian Stanley, one of dozens of Yellow Checker Star drivers currently on strike.
Stanley said he and others drivers are hoping to stop long-hauling with their strike.
"Most of the companies, if you don't produce, you don't work the next day," Stanley said.
Driver Binyam Semereab said the cab companies put pressure on them to long-haul by having a fare quota that drivers must meet or else be fired.
"So if I want to keep my job, the only choice I have is to participate in the long-hauling," Semereab said.
Currently when long-hauling tickets are written by the Taxicab Authority, only the driver is fined.
Semereab would like to see that changed.
"Let there be a flat rate. That would be solving the problems, or the ticket should be the driver as well as the company," Semereab said.
Stanley said he doubts the Taxicab Authority or the companies will fix the problem.
"I'd like to think it would change, but nah, there's too much money involved," he said.
The Taxicab Authority must submit a 60-day plan for corrective action by July 17.
Taxicab Authority Administrator Charles Harvey issued the following statement concerning the audit on Monday:
"The Nevada Taxicab Authority thanks the Legislative Counsel Bureau for completing a thorough review of our operations. The audit of internal processes and procedures yielded valuable information that will assist the Taxicab Authority in achieving its mission to provide for the safety, comfort, and convenience of the taxi riding public, through the regulation of the taxicab industry. Through the audit process, deficiencies are identified and corrected. The Taxicab Authority accepts the audit recommendations to improve the effectiveness of internal controls and operational and compliance related activities and will put measures into place to address those findings."
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