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August 21, 2014

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More cabs OK’d for New Year’s Eve, upcoming conventions

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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.

In another sign that the Las Vegas tourism economy is showing signs of life, the Nevada Taxicab Authority on Tuesday unanimously approved the temporary allocation of additional cabs on Las Vegas streets for the New Year’s Eve weekend and for conventions on the January calendar.

With indications pointing to heavy turnouts for the New Year’s Eve celebration, the International Consumer Electronics Show and Adult Entertainment Expo Jan. 6-9, and the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and World of Concrete conventions Jan. 18-21, the five-member board that regulates taxi operations in Clark County gave the green light to more cabs.

The board accepted a recommendation from the taxi industry for New Year’s Eve and the CES-Adult Expo events, but it followed the authority staff recommendation, which was half as many cabs as the industry wanted, for the SHOT show and World of Concrete events.

On New Year’s Eve, the number of additional cabs will fluctuate from five to 14 per taxi company over four days. For CES and the Adult Expo, an additional 13 to 15 cabs per company will be permitted. And for the SHOT show and World of Concrete, five additional cabs per company will be allowed.

The taxi industry cited New Year’s Eve falling on a Friday night and the potential for more visitors with the opening of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas as reasons for additional cabs that weekend. Industry representatives cited poor service during CES last year and cab lines with waits of more than 30 minutes at convention centers as reasons to add more cabs during that show.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimates that 120,000 people will attend the 2011 CES show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and 30,000 people are expected at the Adult Expo at the Sands Exposition Center.

The 2011 SHOT show is expected to draw 55,000 people to the Sands Expo Center, and another 55,000 will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center for World of Concrete. In addition to those shows, the Let’s Play Hockey International Expo is expected to bring in 4,000 people to Paris Las Vegas Jan. 17-19, and Arbonne International’s Global Training Conference is scheduled to bring 8,300 people to the MGM Grand Jan. 18-20.

Not everybody was happy with the cab allocations.

Several cab drivers pleaded with the board not to allow more cabs, citing the larger number of vehicles would give them a smaller slice of the total revenue. They also said additional cabs would create more congestion on city streets.

But taxi industry leaders argued that last year’s CES service was below par and some conventioneers could opt for other transportation choices if service is bad.

“I wasn’t too proud of last year’s service (at CES),” said Cheryl Knapp, general manager of Whittlesea Bell Transportation. “All it takes is just one bad service experience to lose that customer, and it’s hard to ever get them back. Our competition is out there just waiting for us to fail.”

In other business, the board got an update on a proposal to post signs at McCarran International Airport listing a range of cab fares from the airport to various Strip and downtown resorts as a means of educating the riding public about the illegal practice of long-hauling passengers.

Long-hauling usually involves cab drivers who use the tunnel at McCarran to take passengers to the Strip or downtown from the airport. The longer route generally results in a higher fare.

Several industry representatives were skeptical about listing a range of fares because several circumstances, including heavy traffic on surface streets, can result in a higher fare.

Several cab drivers have urged the board to do something about long-hauling because they believe it’s dishonest and they want to be fair with their customers. Some have recommended fining cab companies as well as disciplining drivers so that the companies would step up their efforts to thwart long-haulers.

The board is expected to reconsider the matter in January or February.

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  1. Really? Cab companies care about "customer service?" Just who is kidding whom here? Aside from illegals, cab drivers are probably the most mistreated workers in town. They are required to work daily shifts that are 50% longer than most folks (up to 12 hours) - with no overtime or holiday premiums - and they do not qualify for the minimum wage because they are classified as "independent" contractors. "Independent," my butt! Their hours are set, their shifts are set and their "territories" are set. That makes them "employees" in my book! But cab companies & the owners provide hefty bribes, er, "contributions," to the sleazebags who pass themselves off as "politicians" and the payoff was forthcoming in setting slave-like standards for cabbies. Hey, it's NV, so what else is new?

  2. This just a terrible injustice to cab drivers. It does not matter how many cabs are on the road. When a large convention or large event have a show break and hundreds of taxi-seekers are leaving at the same time, people are going to wait. The traffic trying to get to the Convention Center is a nightmare. After all these years, the LVCVA has not been able to figure out how to keep cabs and limo's seperated from POV's and busses.

  3. During the NFR this year, the Frias company was succesful in getting the Taxicab Authority to allocate more medallions for the last weekend. They showed long lines of folks waiting for cabs. They failed to show long lines of taxi's lined along Swenson trying to get in to the T@M. The certificate holders have the TA board in their pocket.

  4. As I was sitting at the mall on Charleston waiting for a ride many foreign visitors asked me what time the bus comes. I stated I don't know I'm just sitting here. A cab had been sitting in front of the mall for about 20 minutes, he angrily yelled at the people waiting for the bus and me because we didn't need his services. All the visitors I spoke to stated we know better than taking a cab in this town they are so expensive. LV gauges tourists in every aspect charging $8 for a brownie, $20 for a sandwich (Convention Center)and double the price for cab on the east coast. I wonder why NV is in a downward spiral I guess blaming illegals instead of analyzing LV's business model, mayor, governor, substandard education will turn it around

  5. With all the extra cabs allocated drivers are going to be forced to work on their days off. The Governor needs to do something about this. If the cab drivers would unite, for just a day or two, we could stop this. Cab drivers could bring this city to it's knees. We move the people. We move the money. This has to stop. No More Cabs!!!!!!!!!!!