Las Vegas Taxi Cab Authority - Taxi Authority Police Investigator II L. Walker speaks with a taxi driver at a long-haul checkpoint near the airport tunnel entrance at the McCarran International Airport exit in Las Vegas, Friday, June 8, 2012. The driver did not have a ticket.
The addition of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to the Las Vegas Valley has led to an increase in illegal taxis and hijacked passengers, Ronald Grogan, administrator of the Nevada Taxi Authority, said at a Senate Transportation Committee meeting today.
Las Vegas Taxi Cab Authority
Increased competition from Uber and Lyft drivers has negatively affected the industry, Grogan said.
Medallion Taxi Stock Photos
"With the extra drivers and the extra cars on the streets, everyone in the industry is making less than they were two years ago," Grogan said. "We've seen an increase in lifespan. We've also seen an increase in aggressive driver behavior – drivers who are aggressive towards passengers, drivers who are aggressive towards (other) drivers and even drivers towards the authorities.
The increased competition has led to an increase in illegal driving, he said. "We probably do half a dozen pin surgeries a month," he said. “We're looking for unlicensed drivers, some of whom don't have insurance, and in one case we found a person who was driving a vehicle that was stolen from Southern California.
"We actually had to get Metro involved to make arrests because people had outstanding warrants or there was evidence of a crime in the cab itself," he said.
The taxicab authority that regulates driving in Clark County has had its share of problems recently. A 2016 audit by the agency found that taxis charged passengers $47 million a year in credit card processing fees.
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The fee, $3 per charge, far exceeded the cost of accepting the cards, according to the audit. According to the audit, government agencies pay Wells Fargo 8.5 cents per credit card transaction. Typically, taxis in other cities may charge 3.8 to 5 percent of the total price.
Grogan told the commission that the board investigated the credit card issue and decided to leave the charge unchanged.
The fee "is not the highest credit card fee," he said. "It's probably closer to the middle."
When investigating the payment, the agency found the money was spent properly and went toward "employee resources and maintenance and upkeep," Grogan said.
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See here for a full explanation of our transition to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions for creating an account. When the coronavirus pandemic hit Las Vegas last year, it affected almost every aspect of the travel and tourism industry, from hotels to casinos, nightclubs and airlines.
Las Vegas Taxi Companies were not left unscathed as the virus shut down the Las Vegas Strip for over two months starting in mid-March 2020.
In January 2020, before the pandemic, taxis in Las Vegas provided about 1.3 million rides. By that May, the number had dropped to just 18,000.
Olsen recently answered some questions about the impact of the pandemic, which he called the "most devastating" crisis the industry has ever faced. Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.
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What effects has the pandemic had on the taxi industry and how long will it take to fully recover?
The impact on the taxi industry is as great as the impact on the gaming community. This has put them all down for a while and they are trying to recover. The taxi industry, like hotels, has tried different things to make ends meet.
Thus, the taxi industry is slowly recovering, as is the hotel industry. And I think it will take more than five years for both to fully recover from where they were before the pandemic.
How does the impact of the pandemic compare to other challenging times the taxi industry has faced in Las Vegas?
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It was the single most devastating impact the taxi industry has ever faced. When the economy crashed in 2008, people still came to Vegas, maybe not as many, but they still came.
People still got from A to B as needed, whether they were locals or tourists, and the vast majority of them used taxis. With the pandemic, it literally stopped everything.
What role did Taxicab's management play in the preparation and implementation of safety protocols for taxis, drivers and passengers against the coronavirus?
The Taxi Agency has almost full authority to expand and define ways to guarantee safety. We mandated that drivers must wear a mask - period, no excuses, no exceptions.
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And then we moved on again when the situation began to deteriorate and we ordered that the passengers were masked or they would not get a ride.
So we dictate what a driver can and can't do through existing state law, and we can tighten them as needed, and that's what we've done. COVID is a good example of this.
Even before the pandemic, illegal operators — people who advertise on Craigslist or drive up and try to get someone to ride with cash, or Ubers and Lyfts that operate through an app, which is illegal. We have – along with the NTA (Nevada Transportation Authority) – a very robust enforcement effort for this. When caught, they were arrested and their vehicles impounded.
Drivers, whether tourists or locals, need to know that you can't get a safer ride than a taxi.
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We encourage people, if you feel you have a problem with a driver, report it to the taxi authority and it will be sorted out. We have had situations where we have investigated the matter and the driver received a warning from the taxi service. The company has their own way of handling it and they handle it too. Share All Share Options: CEShowdown: Las Vegas taxis and taxi drivers still very angry with Uber and Lyft
A little after 7 a.m. Tuesday, the day before things heat up at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, taxi driver Jeanette learned that her last passenger had driven in from San Francisco.
This is the case in Las Vegas, where until a few months ago you couldn't get an Uber or Lyft ride in the city. Taxi and limousine services managed to hang on to fast-growing businesses for a while, but they lost ground after a long political battle involving body armor and cab companies' murky political ties to the Nevada Department of Transportation. Last spring, the Nevada legislature legalized Uber and Lyft, but many taxi drivers and operators remain skeptical.
After her quick response, Jeanette published a pamphlet: "Transportation: 'A Guide to Vegas Transportation Since 1984'." He turned to page six, which stated plainly that ride-sharing services had ripped off Las Vegas cab drivers. 115,000 rides.
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He has been driving his own taxi for three years and admits that his reticence is partly due to a lack of technical skills. Insurance is also a concern. "If we were to have an accident that took us to the emergency room right now," he said, gesturing from the driver's seat, "we'd be covered up to our necks."
There's also the fact that apps take away some of the magic of Las Vegas. He told two stories of drunk passengers who, out of courtesy, tipped him generously. Apps barely give hints, if ever.
Ernesto, who works as a waiter, started driving for Uber and Lyft two months ago. On the first day, he was greeted with hostility by taxi drivers. "They saw my sticker and yelled, 'Go to hell! Go to death! I hope you crash!'" he recalled.
The taxi industry's war with ride-hailing services like Uber, while largely invisible to consumers, is one of the most compelling stories at this year's CES — the annual tech industry gathering in Vegas that draws thousands of people. This year, all eyes will be on automakers, as they unveil deals and products aimed at fending off the likes of Apple, Google and, of course, Uber. General Motors helped kick off the bonanza on Monday when it announced a $500 million investment and partnership with Lyft.
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So far, the taxi-Uber feud has been on the down low during CES. Kimberly Rushton, executive director of the Southern Nevada Livery Operators Association, told Bloomberg Business on Monday that new Uber and Lyft drivers are disrupting traffic around the city simply because of the drivers' inexperience.
"You have new drivers in a market that doesn't have driver meetings," he said. "They're just there to get riders. They don't have the same expertise."
Luis, a driver for both Uber and Lyft in Las Vegas (a common practice in Las Vegas, according to Luis), drove a cab for several years before signing up for a ride-hailing service when they came to town a few months ago. He says he makes more money now than he ever did driving a taxi
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