Taxis in Las Vegas are a primary source of transportation for regular visitors or tourists. They are regulated by the Nevada Taxicab Authority, which establishes laws and fair practices for the industry. Abuses, however, do sometimes occur and it is important for people to understand what can happen and how to avoid it.
What is “Long Hauling”?
Cab drivers are technically not allowed to take a longer route than necessary to a given destination. That is known as “long hauling,” which results in a higher fare. While many drivers are honest, there are some who may be prone to bend the rules. Let’s explore why this could occur.
The Las Vegas Taxi System and Why Some Drivers Long Haul
The thousands of cabs on the streets of Vegas are owned by about nine major companies. The drivers are employees of these companies and they are paid a percentage of the fares plus tips. This is different from a lot of other areas where cab drivers might own or lease their vehicles and operate as independents.
Most of the taxi companies insist that drivers make a “high book,” or a high amount on the meter during a shift on any given day. Consequences of having a “low book” could include being fired, given a cab that is restricted to certain areas or given an older vehicle, possibly one with over 300,000 miles.
The cab companies usually base their “book” expectations on an average of performances by drivers. They would expect other drivers to fall within a certain percentage of the average. While this might seem fair and reasonable, honest drivers are actually evaluated using a comparison system that includes those who long haul. Other companies may simply give drivers a figure they must reach daily, but that number is often so high that it could require long hauling to achieve it.
We can therefore see why the practice exists and why some people who may otherwise be honest would succumb to it.
When Long Hauling Could Occur and How to Protect Yourself
Please note that going a longer route when the passenger requests it is not considered long hauling. The person may have a reason for not wanting to go the shorter distance. If there is no request for a particular route, however, the longer way is regarded as a violation.
Long hauling could come about after a person arrives at the airport in Las Vegas. Most destinations on the Las Vegas Strip are a shorter distance going through the city instead of through “the tunnel.” The airport tunnel leads to a couple of Interstate highways that could be faster in time, but longer in miles. The same situation could happen in reverse, when a person is departing from his hotel and going to the airport. Of course, it can take place going to other destinations around town, as well.
In order to protect one’s self, a person could simply acquire a basic knowledge of the major local streets and ask the driver which way he plans to go. If need be, simply request a different route. Electronic hand-held devices usually have mapping capabilities, and this can help cab riders to become more familiar with local surroundings.
You could also ask the driver for an estimate of the fare. Although fares go by the meter, most experienced cab drivers will have a general knowledge of approximately how much it should run. If you have traveled the same route previously and recall how much it costs, you’ll be able to make a comparison on the spot.
A minimal amount of knowledge and awareness can help contribute to an enjoyable, cost-saving vacation. Have fun!
Source: Personal experience in the industry.