Las Vegas Taxi Union Demands State Crack Down on Competition from Ridesharing Apps

Wants rides hailed by apps at least 10 minutes in advance and a slew of new taxes and other regulations.



A Las Vegas taxi union is asking the state to step in and squash competition from ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft and "illegal" drivers who were "taking food out of the mouths of" taxi drivers, as Theatla Jones, a representative of Local 4873 of the Industrial Technical Professional Employees Union, wrote in a letter to legislators obtained by The Nevada Independent.

"Working in the Las Vegas taxi industry was traditionally a solid job where a driver could support his family and enjoy benefits such as health insurance, dental/vision care, retirement benefits, vacation pay, and safety bonuses, but those days are gone unless we secure your help," Jones wrote to legislators. Taxi drivers "desperately need your help to survive due to unfair competition from and lack of regulation

Jones offered sixteen proposals and The Independent reports that one Democratic state senator says he's planning to introduce legislation Monday that incorporates some of them. Jones' proposals include "public safety" measures like FBI background checks, drug testing, and 24-7 commercial insurance, some of which most ridesharing services already do. "Taxi drivers have reported that they recognize [ride-share] drivers who have been terminated from taxi companies due to drug and or alcohol issues," Jones adds.

She claims that ride-share app drivers perform "cash runs" on the Vegas Strip and that taxi drivers said there was "a huge problem with vehicles that are not even 'real' Uber and Lyft" drivers. "All a driver needs," Jones continued, "is a small U or Lyft sticker in their window and they can start transporting passengers for cash." So-called "gypsy cabs" are not a new phenomenon and it's hard to imagine confusing a ride arranged on a smartphone app and one arranged on the street for cash.

Jones also wants rideshare drivers to be "trained to deal with 'Strip road conditions'" and to let the Taxi Authority enforce rules she claims the Nevada Transportation Authority doesn't have the resources to. She also offers proposals for taxes, including that the state demand state-issued decals with "full permitting and registration with tax authorities," enforcing fines for "off-APP trips," and forcing "Uber and Lyft to keep drivers off platform unless taxes paid."

Jones further offered proposals under the guise of "consumer/labor protection" to constrict the use of ridesharing apps, including that all trips be hailed "a minimum of 10 minutes in advance" and no surge pricing as well as "no excessively low or predatory pricing permitted from the" ride-sharing service.

Jones complains that ride-share drivers don't go to residential areas and "will often only come to your house if he/she can surge price you for several times the normal fare," a total misunderstanding of how surge pricing works. "The free market will not solve this problem," she says, of a problem of lack of access to taxis in residential urban areas that services like Uber have helped solve in recent years by connecting would-be drivers to underserved residents.

"You and the Democratic Party are in a position to help my members this session," Jones closed, "and I respectfully request your help to support my member's full time jobs." The Independent notes taxi companies gave 50 state legislators $476,200 in the 2016 election cycle. Jones is doing what cartels all over do, looking to government to maintain crumbling monopolies. Taxi drivers and companies would be better off competing for customers and drivers than looking toward more of the kind of needless and constricting regulations even the union admits the state doesn't have resources to effectively enforce.

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  1. Taxi drivers and companies would be better off competing for customers and drivers than looking toward more of the kind of needless and constricting regulations even the union admits the state doesn’t have resources to effectively enforce.


  2. Uber and Lyft are proof that if you come up with a better idea, be prepared for the thrashing of a lifetime. Over, and over, and over again. Fortunately for them, if they simply pull out of an area entirely it seems that any other start up companies have a tough time finding a foothold in their absence. Probably because the places that start demanding more and more regulation make it almost impossible for anyone except Uber and Lyft to do business there.

  3. “The free market will not solve this problem,”

    Unfortunately, the free market will solve the problem. The problem being how to go about subverting the free market in favor of rent-seekers. And it looks like Theatla Jones and Local 4873 of the Industrial Technical Professional Employees Union know all about the buying and selling of legislators and legislation. If Uber and Lyft come off the campaign contributions and the honorariums and the hip-pocket voters, they are perfectly free to outbid the unions for the legislature’s services.

  4. The taxi drivers are aware that they did the same thing to the horse & buggy cabs, right?

    1. That was just a little before their time.

  5. Cost from my house near Summerlin to Vegas airport with Taxi: $60+
    Cost from my house near Summerlin to Vegas airport with Lyft/Uber: $20-$25

    They can all starve.

    1. Even cost aside, Uber is usually a better experience.

      1. And Uber doesn’t take the tunnel route from the airport to the Strip.

    2. Looking at prices, it might be the Uber drivers who starve.

      1. “Looking at prices, it might be the Uber drivers who starve.”

        Yep, people choose to work for starvation pay. That’s the reason we need ‘living wages’!

  6. I look forward to John coming here and explaining how Ed naively deifies free markets and how we are so much better off with taxi cartels and the government running cheaper competitors out of town.

    1. Not unless Trump owns a taxi business.

      1. Quite the contrary. Trump has been trying to ban taxi drivers from even entering the country.

        1. +1 Oof!

        2. Yes. John’s not going to argue in favor of taxi cartels. Those are brown people jobs.

  7. I’d like to trigger a few folks by noting how awesome it is that uber cuts out the tipping. I expect sooner or later they’ll cave on that but it is awesome for now.

    1. If I have an Uber driver that goes above and beyond, like helping me bring my groceries in, I tip him. You’re totally free to tip a driver whenever you want.

  8. The unions continue to lose power. A trend I don’t see reversing.

  9. Makes me want to take a flight to Vegas just so I can go outside near the taxis, and when a driver says “Want a ride?” answer him “Come back in ten minutes.”

  10. no surge pricing as well as “no excessively low or predatory pricing permitted…”

    Which is it? You’re afraid of them collecting too much because you are underpriced? Or you are afraid of them making a profit by charging less because you are overpriced?


  11. allo

  12. Speaking of cars for hire:

    From The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science:



    1. Surprisingly it does not appear to have been federally funded.

    2. Oh, the stupid frog has returned! Let’s see what we have here….
      Well, yellow is more visible than other colors and the stupid frog seems to have made an obvious point.

      1. Sevo:

        From The Manchurian Candidate (1962):

        “You must try, Comrade Zilkov, to cultivate a sense of humour. There’s nothing like a good laugh now and then to lighten the burdens of the day.”

        From Beat the Devil (1953):

        “I like an associate of mine to have a sense of humor. A good laugh does more for the stomach muscles than five minutes sitting up exercises.”

  13. The whole Uber saga is sort of an eye-opener about how corrupt some of these service industries had become. When regulation becomes not about things which are actually necessary to protect the consumer and becomes about providing benefits to people who work in the industry, things are seriously fucked up. They’re literally arguing that layers of regulation should be added specifically to reduce the amount of competition taxi drivers face. So they can keep their dental benefits.

    Also, how are taxi drivers “Industrial Technical Professionals” ? Is this what happens when someone tries to unionize engineers and engineers slowly realize that they have nothing to gain from unionization and the union is slowly taken over by taxi drivers? WTF?

    1. “The whole Uber saga is sort of an eye-opener about how corrupt some of these service industries had become. When regulation becomes not about things which are actually necessary to protect the consumer and becomes about providing benefits to people who work in the industry, things are seriously fucked up>”

      Sadly, Uber and Lyft have been seeking crony protection. You can simply claim it’s a survival strategy, but that suggests that there is no survival absent crony appeals.
      And BTW, fuck the Uber drivers who stop in the traffic lane to pick up the fares. If I had a truck, I’d push on them…

    2. Sanitation Expert and a Maintenance Engineer,
      A garbageman, a janitor and you my dear,
      A real Union Flight Attendant my oh my,
      You ain’t nothing but a waitress in the sky.


  14. I absolutely adore the idea of cab drivers or their advocates suggesting someone learn any road conditions. Cab drivers are one group of people who can be counted on to drive like absolute assholes on a constant basis.

    At the intersection of Spring Mountain and Sammy Davis/Treasure Island, all 4 intersections have signs forbidding U-Turns and the intersections also have right turn arrows, which means people turning right can have an explicit green. NHP and Las Vegas Metro PD sometimes hangout next to Treasure Islands to catch people turning around on Spring Mountain West to go East (it’s the most abused one). On election day 2016, LVMPD motorcycles were enforcing that law, and two different cars made u-turns and the motorcycles went after them with lights flashing. Lo and behold, a cab driver made an illegal u-turn directly in the path of the second motorcycle cop such that the cop (who did have his lights flashing) had to stop and wait for him to finish. That oblivious idiot cab driver spared some other person a ticket and I could help but laugh

    I’ve lived in Las Vegas 17 years and “The Strip” is not unique when it comes to driving conditions. It can get congested, but it’s no different than any other road, like Sunset Blvd, PCH, various freeways, etc. when it comes to driving on it when it’s heavily congested.

    On a side note, most cabs here have little No-Uber stickers on their bumpers,which only makes me like Uber, Lyft, etc. even more.

  15. Mob mouthpiece bitches about competition? Stop the presses! That’s never happened before!


  16. FBI background checks! Drug tests! Agents nabbing innocent uber drivers off the streets to forcibly take their urine, blood, or even semen sample!

    Is is the America you envisioned Donald Trump!

  17. Vegas cabbies are the worst in the country, and Vegas city leadership is so corrupt it’s broken. Before I knew better, I was long-hauled 75% of the time from McCarran to the Strip. I’ve had the “broken credit card reader” pulled more times than I can remember. Vegas cabbies are rude, dishonest scum, and Uber in Vegas is a welcome change. Should have happened years ago.

  18. According to local press reports, Taxicabs are 18 to 36 times more dangerous to be in or around than a rideshare vehicle.

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