A Bad Bet

Vegas taxi fees


Taxi and limo services fiercely fought to keep ride-booking services like Lyft and Uber out of the great gambling city of Las Vegas. As in other places, cabbies there are hostile to competition that's seen as a cheaper, more accessible, and friendlier alternative to what they have to offer. Ultimately, their protectionist impulses were defeated.

A recent audit helps explain why customers in Vegas desperately wanted alternatives. The Nevada Taxicab Authority, which regulates the industry for the government, discovered that taxis in the city were overcharging their customers to the tune of $47 million a year. That's a lot of spins at the roulette table.

One of the big offenders was a credit card processing fee of $3 per trip, which is much higher than banks typically charge for the service and more than what customers were paying in other cities. In addition, a surcharge added when gas gets more expensive was not graduated based on the price. It kicked in at 12 cents per mile immediately when gas passed the $3.25 per gallon threshold.

The drivers themselves turn out not to be big fans of some of the charges. A taxi labor organizer told the Associated Press that cabbies don't get any of the money from the credit card fees—it all goes to the taxi companies, and sometimes it cuts into tips for the drivers.