Wednesday, June 6, 2012 | 12:03 p.m.
The Nevada Taxicab Authority set up a checkpoint at McCarran International Airport today to discourage the illegal long-hauling of cab customers.
Long-hauling — taking cab riders on longer routes to generate a higher fare — typically occurs in Las Vegas when drivers leave McCarran for a Strip or downtown resort destination by way of the runway tunnel leading to Interstate 215.
Customers have complained that they’ve discovered they’ve been cheated after returning to the airport at the end of a trip and finding the fare was $5 to $20 less than when they left the airport.
Taxicab Authority Administrator Charles Harvey said the enforcement action would occur today and June 8 and continue intermittently after that.
The enforcement area is marked by an electronic sign board on a ramp from McCarran’s cab stand to the airport exit announcing a “Taxicab Authority Longhauling Checkpoint.”
Long-hauling is considered one of the Taxicab Authority’s biggest problems.
Some drivers have said they’ve cheated customers because they are under pressure from their bosses to generate more money. Cab drivers and owners publicly criticize long-hauling, but the large number of complaints suggests that it continues to be a chronic problem for the industry.
Taxi drivers are allowed to take longer routes if they first receive permission from the customer. Drivers often encourage the longer route because of traffic tie-ups on surface streets around McCarran in which cab wait times can generate fares that are nearly as high as the long route.
Cab fares are $3.30 for the initial activation of the meter, known as the “drop,” and then 20 cents per one-thirteenth of a mile ($2.60 a mile, which includes a 20-cent fuel surcharge).
If a cab is traveling less than 12 mph for more than 30 seconds, riders are assessed a “wait time” fee of 25 cents per 30 seconds, or $30 an hour. Trips starting at McCarran also are assessed an additional $1.80 fee.
The Taxicab Authority has a chart on its website that calculates the approximate fares for common taxi trips.
Harvey said the checkpoint was well-publicized for the first day to give owners notice and to give drivers an out if they were considering an illegal trip. But Harvey added that on Friday, his officers would have a zero-tolerance policy.