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Still Being Taken For A Ride By Some Vegas Cab Drivers

April 29, 2013 at 6:55 PM | by | ()

By definition a long haul is traveling a long distance or time. Hauling is usually used when discussing freight, not humans. Like everything else in Vegas, a long haul is slightly different. In Vegas, long hauling is the process of cab drivers taking customers for a longer distance so they can charge more without telling said customer. Long hauling has been around Vegas for years, but it's been in the mainstream news a lot lately because it's happening more than ever before.

A press release sent out from the Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau last week says that over 22% of 2,370 cab rides to and from McCarran Airport took a longer trip than necessary. According to this study, long hauling totaled up to almost $15 million in over-charges last year. Here's an example from last night:

Being long hauled doesn't bother everyone because, even though people are paying more, the longer route may actually be faster. Who doesn't want to get where they're going quicker? Especially in Vegas! Where most people have a problem is the inconsistency of pricing and not being offered one route or the other.

Here are some tips to avoid being long hauled in Vegas:

●When you get in the cab from McCarran tell the driver you don't want to take the tunnel or freeway. You can simply say that you prefer seeing the sites of Las Vegas.
●Ask the cab driver to take Paradise Road. Paradise runs parallel to The Strip and is usually less congested.
●When you get in the cab ask how much the fare should be. This locks the driver to an approximate price range so they shouldn't be able to long haul you. Here's a list of approximately how much a cab ride from McCarran Airport should cost to Vegas hotels.
●Whether you've been to Vegas before or not, just act like you've a regular visitor. If you sound like you know what you're talking about, you're less likely to be long hauled.
●The faster route may be the long-hauliest route. It may cost you $10 or $15 to save five minutes to your hotel. If the time saved doesn't matter... have a good time! If you don't want to pay the higher cab fee, just tell the cab driver you don't mind taking a longer route if asked.

Here are some non-taxi options, too:

●Book a car service or limo in advance. This may be the quickest way to get around Vegas. When traveling with a larger party, the price per person for a limo could be the same or less than cab(s).
Shuttle it. Hotel specific shuttles run regularly and may be free. Just be warned that you're on their schedule so this route could take a while. Paying for a shuttle could be a tortuous experience especially if you're staying at the north end of The Strip since you'll have to stop at every hotel people are staying. This writer took the shuttle once and would never do that again.
●Take a bus downtown. After his last visit to Vegas, Denver Gambler told us that this was a good, inexpensive option to get downtown. While you may save some money this route, it may take longer than any other option.

More than 3/4ths of all cab drivers won't long haul you so this is more of a cautionary tale. There are ways to avoid getting long-hauled in a Vegas cab but, like resort fees, it stinks that we even have to think about this. The Taxicab Authority now has to respond to this audit with a plan of action by July 17.

There is no fool proof method to avoid being long-hauled so, if you have any advice to share, leave a comment for the other Vegas Chatter'ers.

[PHOTO: Jimmy Hoofa LV]

Archived Comments:

Talk to your concierge.

At our place, we have directions for the  guests to tell their driver how to go: Harmon to Paradise. I would love if they went flat fee, but the taxi lobby is too strong.

And a shuttle usually isn't worth it; few hotels have their own, it's 8 bucks per person and can take an hour. Going back? Showtime wants to pick you up 3 1/2 to 4 hours before your flight; Bell about 3 hours.

Rent a car!

Most times when we go now, we rent a car for 24hrs...usually costs like $40-50 but considering a cab will run you $20 with tip. You can stop off at the off strip convenience stores to get cheap supplies (snacks, booze, water etc). Then you have the car for the day to go wherever you want..and can drop it off AT your casino (AVIS has drop-offs at all MGM resorts, and Dollar at TI)

It really is the best way to go, and considering all the money you save on beer, snacks etc plus having the car for 24hrs you really come out ahead!

Great Suggestions

jproz, people don't want to rent cars for the fear of drunk driving but, like you said, it's about the same price to rent a car just to get to and from the airport.

Never admit it's your first time in Vegas

Most cab drivers will ask if it's your first time in Vegas.  Even it it is, never admit it.  Also keep the number to the taxi authority in your cell phone (702-668-4000) and don't be afraid to use it WHILE you are being long hauled.  Also if you are long hauled, don't pay the fare on the meter.  When the cabbie starts to complain, ask him if he wants a police officer to settle the problem.  None of them do and most will accept the correct fare.

But I agree with jproz.  I find it's just easier to rent a car.  I don't have to worry about being scammed every time I get in a cab.  And it enables me to get around town a lot easier.

So awkward

Nothing better than starting off your vacation/Vegas trip by having to fore-ward your cabbie not to long haul you!  But hey, it has to be done!

Annoying...but not life changing

I can't get too worked up about long hauling from the airport - at most it's another $15, which is one hand at Blackjack or the Resort Fee (more of a rip-off IMHO!) for a day.

True, it can be annoying to be taken via the tunnel/freeway, but I once insisted that we go via Tropicana/Koval and was held up for 30 minutes by roadworks...with the driver pointing out at 5 minute intervals why we should have taken his route.

As MrIsland suggests - tell the driver that you visit Vegas about 4 times a year, don't need to see the Strip, and want to get to the hotel by the shortest route - it usually works.

Getting taken for a ride is not fun.

I am more of a mass transit type but there are time where in can be awkward or impractical not to hire a cab. <a href="http://www.taxifarefinder.com/">http://www.taxifarefinder.com/</a> will estimate your fair from your smart phone. My tips when hiring a cab anywhere is know your destination. State your destination clearly and make sure the driver repeats it back to you. Ask if the driver how long it should take before departing if possible. I always look at the drivers name badge that should always be in clear view on the dash and make sure to make a bit of small talk with the driver by name. If I can't pronounce it I usually start a conversation that way. Remember being nice get's you a long way in the service industry. One more tip. if it's a big hotel it is sometimes better to get dropped of at the side entrance if the hotel has one.