BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- A state audit reveals that Las Vegas cab companies have been engaging in the practice of long-hauling – taking a fare on an indirect route in order to charge more – to the tune of 14.8 million dollars a year.
The chief shop steward at Yellow Checker Star Cab Company says that number is wrong.
It’s way low.
“I think it’s more. I think it’s considerably more,” says Sam Moffitt. “You have to remember that this was a survey of 600 cabs out of 2100 and that’s where they got their figures from. I would say that is a very conservative estimate.”
Moffit says drivers feel pressure to long-haul in order to keep up with quotas imposed on them by the management. What’s worse, according to Moffit, is that when a driver is found guilty of long-hauling it’s the driver, not the company, who shells out the $600 fine.
In fact, Moffit has proposed a solution that he says would work better than a recently failed initiative to have cab companies charge a flat rate.
“There’s another way to go about this – and this would stop long-hauling tomorrow,” says Moffit. “If the companies would be fined the same amount of money the drivers are, believe me, there’s be no long hauling. That would be the end of it.”
William Shranko, COO of Yellow Checker Star, also thinks the report’s numbers are inaccurate, but in the other direction.
“The state audit team acted as judge, jury and executioner,” says Shranko. “They have the wrong information at the wrong time from the wrong people and everybody has missed it.”
Shranko says what the state is identifying as long-hauling is really just cab drivers taking different routes to avoid traffic.
“In every ride that a taxi driver does, the passenger selects the route,” says Shranko. “Everybody in Las Vegas is trained to do it the same way.”
Meanwhile, cab companies are engaged in a strike for higher wages. Shranko says that’s why the cab drivers have embraced the state’s findings on the long-hauling issue.
“They have labor issues and they’re trying to make it look like we forced them to long haul,” says Shranko. “Yes, we have performance standards.”