Taxicab Authority votes to hold steady on taxi fares

Las Vegas Sun File

Taxis wait at “the pit” for fares at McCarran International Airport. At any time, there are about 2,000 cabs on Las Vegas streets.

The Nevada Taxicab Authority is keeping cab fares where they are and won’t allow companies to increase their fleets for now.

In unanimous votes Monday, the five-member panel, which regulates the 16 cab companies operating in Clark County, agreed to keep rates at $2.60 a mile after a $3.30 “drop fee” and also ordered no new allocations for additional cabs.

A drop fee is the charge for the initial hiring of a cab and includes a 20-cents-per-mile fuel surcharge. Cab meters are set to assess a charge of 20 cents for each one-thirteenth of a mile. In addition, cab companies charge $30 an hour waiting time when cabs travel at less than 12 miles an hour and the pickup charge at McCarran International Airport is $1.80 per ride.

Representatives of two unions representing drivers said they were compelled to seek rate increases to generate more income for them, but they didn’t put up a big fight or compelling arguments to raise rates. One union suggested incorporating an existing fuel surcharge into the standard rate, a tactic that has been used in past rate increases, but that idea went nowhere.

Monday’s rate hearing was one of the most harmonious — and shortest — in the board’s history. Anticipating a large turnout of drivers, the Taxicab Authority scheduled the meeting at the Cashman Center theater where persons attending are first scanned by metal detectors. About 25 people attended.

The Taxicab Authority last raised rates in April 2011.

The staff report recommending no rate increases said that while the Las Vegas area is 33rd in the nation in median income, its cab rates are the seventh highest in the country.

The rate review came at a time when monthly cab trips were down 1.7 percent to 2.2 million trips in August compared with a year ago. It was the first decline in four months. For the year, taxi trips are up 2.1 percent to 18.7 million for the first eight months of 2012.

Taxicab Authority Administrator Charles Harvey also reported to the board that long-hauling enforcement is up and that he has worked with the city to increase downtown hotel staging areas by 97 percent.

Over the summer, Harvey led a crackdown against long-hauling — the illegal practice of taking unsuspecting passengers on a longer route to collect a larger fare. Hearing officers on long-hauling cases are seeking higher fines and recommending license suspensions of three to 10 days for drivers who are caught.

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  1. Long hauling is still a huge problem. Fix it once and for all.

  2. Save yourself the headaches from long-hauling: take an airport shuttle (It is a LOT cheaper) and take the bus when you need to jump around the strip. I've been long-hauled before and now the taxi system is my last resort as far as transportation goes in Las Vegas.

  3. "In unanimous votes Monday, the five-member panel, which regulates the 16 cab companies operating in Clark County, agreed to keep rates at $2.60 a mile after a $3.30 "drop fee" and also ordered no new allocations for additional cabs."

    This is why cabs can long haul, gouge and employ rude drivers. The cab cartel protects their own. All of these problems would be minimalized if there were true cab competition, but the cartel won't allow it.

    Is this America or some piss poor South American country? Why is free enterprise and competition not allowed in the cab industry?