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Undercover Work Puts Illegal Ride-Sharing Drivers In A Bind

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The battle over cab rides in Las Vegas isn't letting up.

In the latest round, Bell Transportation, which operates Whittlesea Blue and Henderson Cab companies, hired a private detective agency.

A detective posed as a conventioneer. Then he got drivers to give him rides for cash, without having him go through phone-based apps for Uber or Lyft.

Armed with that information, the Nevada Transportation Authority will meet March 24 to discuss increasing fines on drivers who give illegal rides.

Private detective David DuCharme made the undercover videos and gathered the information.

He told KNPR’s State of Nevada that about half of the drivers he approached said they would take his money, instead of telling him to go through the app.  

Rick Velotta, transportation reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal,said transportation officials aren’t the only ones unhappy about the report.

“The Uber and Lyft people, obviously, they don’t want to see this happening either because of the fact that they lose a chunk of revenue,“ he said, “It is one of those problems that they want to remove those people as well.”

He said when a ride-share driver is found giving rides for cash they are removed from the platform immediately.

While some people think the idea is harmless, Velotta said it brings up a whole host of problems especially when it comes to insurance during a traffic accident where someone gets hurt.

“If they’re not on the app, then the liability presumably goes to the driver,” he said, “And in most cases, if a driver is caught doing ride sharing without having his app on or being properly licensed, then the insurance company could possible cancel that insurance policy because he is operating a commercial enterprise with his personal vehicle.”

 Velotta said the investigation by DuCharme shows just how pervasive of a problem it is. He said part of the reason is the transportation authority’s enforcement arm is undermanned.

“And a city like ours where there rides being provided in every corner, it’s just a little difficult to keep up,” he said.

 

David DuCharme, private detective, The DuCharme Agency;  Rick Velotta, transportation reporter, Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.