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The One Where We Still Got Long-Hauled From The Airport

July 24, 2013 at 4:35 PM | by | ()

Even though we've said it over and over again, we'll tell you once more: Don't let that airport cab driver long-haul you to your hotel on the Strip. And, the best way to do this is to tell the driver you don't want to take the tunnel or freeway immediately when you approach the cab. If you don't, he'll long-haul your ass, taking you on a ride that's at least two miles longer than necessary and charging you extra $$$, too.

That's what happened to me last week. I arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon. Not exactly a high tourist arrival time. And, keep in mind, that I come to Vegas monthly. I know better than to let the taxi drivers long-haul me. But, this time, I was trying to answer a work email on my phone as I hopped in the cab and didn't think to tell the driver not to take the tunnel or the freeway. He also distracted me with random questions about what I was doing here and where I was from. Then, before I knew it, we were riding through the dreaded tunnel. All for a trip to Mandalay Bay. One of the closest hotels to the airport. So much for that checkpoint, huh?

I pointed this out to my driver and he insisted "it's the same," meaning whether he goes the freeway or the streets. Um, no, it's not. It's about two miles longer. (Thanks to @DenverGambler's quick research done during the drive.) When I told him this and that a recent trip to CityCenter from the airport cost us just $16, he scoffed and said, "no way." Then he said it again for good measure.

When the driver pulled up to Mandalay Bay, the total cab fare was $23.

I charged my credit card so that I could get a receipt for the long-haul and bypassed the suggested tip on the screen. Then, I took my bag without saying another word to the cab driver.

Once I got online in my hotel room, I went straight to the Nevada Taxicab Authority's website so I could report the cab. But, it turns out reporting a driver or cab company is not as easy as writing down the cab # and submitting a receipt. You need to fill out a complaint and then have that notarized which usually costs an extra couple of bucks. (At our local UPS store, it's $10.) So, even though cabs are still long-hauling even experienced Vegas visitors from the airport, we doubt many folks are going to go through the complaints process. [UPDATE: As one of our commenters pointed out, getting the complaint notarized is not necessary at first. However, if the taxicab authority decides to investigate your complaint, they may send it back to you and ask you to get it notarized.]

And, even though the planned checkpoint to prevent cabs from long-hauling failed us, wouldn't it be nice if they could at least post signs at the taxi cab line reminding folks of their rights? We know all about long-hauling and we still let it happen. So, we imagine this happens to Vegas virgins and frequent visitors alike.

Until then, the next time we get a cab from the airport, we won't even think of checking our phone until we know we're being taken the best way. Have you ever been long-hauled? Or, even better, reported a cab? Tell us how that went in comments below!

[PHOTO: Jimmy Hoofa LV]

Archived Comments:

I don't bother to report them.....

.....nor do I specify a route when I get in at the airport.  My new policy is simply this:

If they take the tunnel/freeway, I calmly tell the driver I know that I'm being long-hauled.  I give him two choices:

(1) When we arrive at my Strip hotel, I'll give him a $20 bill, regardless of what the meter says, and we'll both move on with our lives; or

(2) I won't pay him a cent, and we'll call the Taxicab Authority together from the hotel driveway and file a report.

They always, always, always pick option #1.

Good strategy ericrz

The thing is riders shouldn't have to immediately tell drivers they don't want to be long hauled.  It just shouldn't happen!

I don't tell chefs not to spit in my food, I just expect (hope) it won't happen.

What to say

Ive so far been lucky and didnt go through the "tunnel" yet.

Instead of just saying "dont take the freeway" can someone (or maybe vegaschatter can write an article about this), in regards to key local streets to say when going to a strip hotel.It would be helpful if there was some kind of cue card to site out once I get in the cab, I want to take this road, this road and this road to goto (insert hotel name).

For example if I want to go to the Palazzo, Id say "can we please use this this road".

Pulled Over by Taxi Authority

This last trip to Vegas we were taking a cab from Paris to the D. The cab completely long hauled us onto the highway and then driving around in circles downtown. We were close to the D when we were pulled over by the taxi authority who questioned the driver on his rout. The meter was at $28 and the "cop" told us that it should be $15. So we payed the $15 and got out of the car. I wonder if he got reported by the guy that pulled us over or if that was all that happened.

One incident

In March when I was in Vegas, I took a cab from the Palazzo to the Stratosphere for lunch at the "Top of the World Restaurant". Once we got out of the Palazzo and onto the strip, the cab driver was about to make a left turn to go on the freeway. I told him I want to go on the strip (you can literally see the stratosphere) and the driver was like "theres too much traffic and the freeway is faster". It was 10am in the morning, and everyone knows the north end of the strip from the wynn has no traffic. I emphasized I want to take the strip, and the drive literally yelled out "but Im the driver, and its my cab". He ended up taking the strip, and there was virtually no traffic, he quieted down as I think he was kinda embarrased that he pretty was about to long haul me, and it failed. I gave him no tip, because of how he yelled at me, as I dont think drivers should ever yell at a customer. Later as I was eating lunch on top of the stratsophere, I could see it with my own eyes, the distance from Palazzo to the freeway, and the distance to the Palazzo to the Stratosphere was almost equal. I checked on google maps, and yup taking the freeway was 2.3 miles extra.

Longhauled once and that was enough.....

My second trip to Vegas, I got longhauled from the airport to the Imperial Palace and what should have been a $20 fare before tip was just under $24 fare. I gave him $25 and that included the tip.  On top of that, he didn't even drop me off in the right spot as he had taken the back way into the IP. Since then, I refuse to take a cab from the airport.  

I think that they make reporting longhauling such a painful process so that people opt against reporting since it would take time away from their trip.    

one more thing

sorry forgot to mention the most important part!
i was sitting in the bqckseat, and you know how they have the taxi company phone number to report incidents on the bqck headrest of the passenger seat? this cab had that phone number blocked off with a little post it note. it was all enclosed in a plastic barrier.

"Surface Streets"

If you don't want to say "no freeway, no tunnel" just say "take surface streets".  If you are going to Aria or north you can say, "take Koval".

There are basically only two scenarios for taking the freeway:

  1. You are going to Rio or Palms (it's about a wash but a tad further)

  2. You knowingly take it to a resort on the west side of the strip to save time. I have asked them to take it to the Mirage when I have arrived at a busy time at night and have checked Google Maps traffic and was more concerned about time than money.

Ordinarily the fastest way to the Mirage is Koval to Venetian and cutting through Venetian right to Mirage driveway. One taxi driver showed me this and I tipped him well. The next time I had to give turn by turn directions to the driver because he didn't believe me.

I love renting a car

Renting a car for our trip usually costs us around $80-$90 bucks and in the long run ends up saving money. I can't imagine dealing with taxi drivers every trip.

Longhauled one way - not the other

2 trips ago, we got in the cab at McCarron, and I just started talking immedately about "boy you cabbies sure are getting a bad rap for all the longhauling...etc".  White, older, English speaking Cabbie went on and on about how that should NEVER happen, and if it does, you call the number posted in every cab, etc etc.  $15 to Paris.  Going back to airport, we get into cab, Ethiopian cabbie can't speak (or so he lets on) much Enlish.  Way out to freeway, around the airport (so it seemed)- $28.  I gave him exactly $28 on credit card, entered the cab number, his name and the authority phone number, and after checking into airport, called.  Thanked me VERY much for calling, but asked me if I was going to press charges.  HELLOOOO, I was flying back to Canada!  Whatever.  Next time, I'm telling them, both directions, "I have a $20 bill, take me whichever way you want, that's all you get!"

I was told by a cabbie last time we were in Vegas, nothing will ever change, because the Cab companies are completely, 100% in favour of their drivers longhauling - THEY get the lions share of the fare!  Makes sense...

It's almost lose-lose

Get into a cab and say nothing, chances are you get long hauled and end up in an argument and pissed, no way to start your trip.

Get into a cab and say "no tunnel", and either a) you've got an honest cabbie who is now surly because you have accused him of planning on long-hauling you or b) you just called out a dishonest cabbie who is pissed at being called out. Either way, surly cabbie, and again, not a great way to kick off a trip.

never ending problem

the best solution would be is to make a flat fee from at least the airport to strip, and strip to airport.

Call Wynn,Encore,Palazzo,Venetian ZONE A, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Paris, City Center Zone B, etc and charge a set fee according to each Zone. However, I understand the taxi companies would never let this occur, as they r obviously making bank long hauling customers. Although by implemeting this flat fee service I would think more people would consider taking a taxi that would have otherwise not.

Notarization Not Needed

First, I love Vegaschatter and actually recommend it to others.

Okay, now that we're friends. I need to tell you that you need to update Juliana's story on being longhauled. In the story, she says that people who complain to the Taxi Authority must have their complaint notarized. That's not accurate. While it would be helpful, it's not necessary when filing a complaint.

Here's what the TA says on its website:
Notary information has been placed at the bottom of the LONG ROUTE VOLUNTARY WITNESS STATEMENT form to facilitate it being used as an affidavit. If the Taxicab Authority finds it necessary to use this information as part of an investigation, this form may be returned to you for signature and notary stamp.

Vegaschatter should not accidently discourage people from taking complaints to the TA. I suggest removing all references to notarization, what's there now is inaccurate.

a couple of years ago

I hopped into a cab at the Plaza and asked to go to the Rio. He turned around and started to head toward Ogden to get on the freeway that way. I immediately said, "Why aren't you going to Charleston and get on I 15 there?" He replied that this was the way he always went.

As we finally got to the Charleston St. exit and the fare was already up to,I believe $8. I told him that I would reduce the fare by that much. He slammed on the brakes and started screaming at me to get out of his cab. Since I didn't know if he really was that crazy or armed, I got out.

I sent a complaint to the Authority and never heard a word from them. I don't take cabs in Las Vegas any longer. I'm tired of arguing with them. Once I told a guy not to take the tunnel and he drove about 25 mph all the way to the Riv. I was laughing out loud, asking him if he realized he was the one losing money by not getting there and getting another fare. I always rent cars now.

With a twist...

We were long-hauled on our first visit with a very expensive trip to the Luxor.  Didn't know any better.  3 years and many trips with no issues later I get long-hauled with a twist... Cabbie tells me there is something going on at the Thomas and Mack so he'd go another way.  He flat out told me it would be a little bit more expensive but quicker.

I had no idea whether he was telling the truth or not about the traffic so didn't argue with him.

Long Haul

A few years back I was long hauled, during the trip I told the driver I knew what he was doing. When we arrived at the Mirage, I called over to the valet and told him I wasn't going to pay for the ride and to call the taxi cab authority. The driver was pissed but I told him either he gives me my luggage and take $15 instead of the $28 fare or he can wait for the authority and the police and I wouldn't pay him anything. He chose the $15. I tipped the valet for his help.

We give

our guests who want to go to the airport a little slip. Tells them to tell the driver to take Harmon to Paradise.

We got a visit from the Taxi Authority recently....one of the drivers complained. TA told us what we were doing was ok, and thanked us.

Update on notary for complaint

@Chilcoot: we've updated the story with that information. Do you happen to know how often these complaints are investigated and thus in need of notary stamps? Probably makes sense to just have it notarized from the get-go, no?


I do not know how often. But I expect that most cases are resolved informally, well before the legal niceties of sworn affidavits are required.

I've only had good experiences with Vegas taxis, but if one screwed me over badly enough, I'd definitely take it to the TA, they seem to take their job pretty seriously.

Thanks for sharing your story with us.

The first time we went to Vegas...

...we were long hauled.  Staying at the Hilton, fare was $35.  Going back to the airport, the fare was $18.  The next time I went first and simply said "straight up Paradise to the Hilton".  Fare was $20.  Ever since we just rent a car, so I don't have to deal with Vegas cabbies.

Don't know if this is true...

I had a cabbie tell me that if you feel you have been long hauled you can request the cab driver call dispatch and ask for a fare estimate. They have to do this for you if you request it. I'm not sure if he was referring to his company's policy or if it is an actual law.

Personally, after my experience with a taxi that took us to the wrong place (he decided he'd rather drop us off at the convention center than at LVH) I only take cabs when I absolutely need to (when I've had a few drinks). If the fare seems wrong to me I would refuse to pay and call the taxi authority. The worst that could happen is they'll show up and tell me the fare is correct (assuming you do this once you arrive at your destination; wouldn't risk arguing with a cabbie on the road).

taxi authority

everyone is talking about this taxi authority.
does anyone have an actual number to call? could be handy to take next time.

aircrew taxi authority number is


Here's the site:

<a href="http://taxi.nv.gov/">http://taxi.nv.gov/</a>

Link for clicking

I ALWAYS tell the driver...

..."I'm giving you twenty bucks. Take me whatever way you want." Haven't gotten long-hauled since :)

No tunnel, but looong detour

Its happened to me twice. First time going from IP to the airport, driver pulled out onto the strip (wasnt sure if he could take the road into the back?) but then instead of turning right at the next light and going towards the airport- he turned left to take the hiway. Normally I wouldve ripped him a new one, but I had just had a great trip, so I let it slide, just didnt give him a tip.
 This past May a very rude driver (yelling on his phone the whole time) took an indirect route to the Luxor, then when he stopped I swear the meter was just over $16, but when he got out of the cab- it was now well over $18. I gave him $20,not sure what happened- then he yelled at me claiming I was ripping him off (he got just over $1 tip). Hate taking cabs from the airport.

Pre book transport from McCarran

This hasn't happened to me yet as we always pre book transport from the airport to whichever hotel we're staying at, but when we come again in October, we're staying on Fremont for the first time so we may use cabs (or the Deuce) to get to the Strip, so thanks for the tips guys!

Skip the Cab, take a Limo! ha ha

We have been long hauled too many times.  We have been charged over $30 on more than a few occasions.  Now I typically pre-book a limo or car service.  It is around $50, don't have to wait in the cab line, and the service is much better.  I refuse to argue or fight for a fair cab fare!

Love this!

I love renting a car +1

As much as I like IDriveABug's approach :o), I'm with tashajilek and nearly always rent a car.

I pre-pay via UK websites and it usually costs about $30 per day (including insurance add-ons, tax, free tank of gas, return empty, etc) - seems reasonable to me (and is way cheaper than hiring a car in Europe).

It gives me the option to go off-strip and to places further out, I don't use it that much but it's convenient to have the option.

If I'm going out in the evening with friends we'll get a cab - it's got to work out cheaper than a DUI?! We just tell the driver which way we want him to go (avoid Strip, use Koval/Industrial etc) - any argument = no tip.

Crazy Attitude

After reading the earlier suggestions, I asked our cab driver not to take the tunnel or the freeway. He got really crabby with us and was that way all the way to the airport.  No more cabs for us. Renting a car is the only way to go.

Forget the taxis

Seriously, if you're coming from the airport and heading to a strip hotel, take an airport shuttle bus. $7 per person. I have been a few times and after I've collected my luggage I've headed outside and hopped straight onto a shuttle bus each time, they take care of your luggage and there is no queuing at all. You may have to wait a few mins on the shuttle until it fills up but this wait is never uncomfortably long, besides, there is plenty of room to kick back and take it easy after a long flight.

Not sure if this is a long haul or not

I took a taxi from the Rampart to the Rio that was pretty much all-freeway.  Taking the surface streets (south on Rainbow, east on Flamingo) appears to be about two miles shorter, but I don't know how much that is saved on distance is eaten up by extra wait time.

It's a disgrace...

...that you have to explicitly tell the driver which route to follow, or risk getting ripped off.

We recently took the shuttle bus from the Golden Nugget to the airport because I didn't feel like dealing with some jerk who would've looped around to the I-15 entrance north of Fremont and then likely taken 1-15 all the way to Rt 215 and the Tunnel unless I told him otherwise.

In contrast, after making its downtown rounds the shuttle bus ran straight up Main Street to Paradise (by the Stratosphere) which takes you straight into the airport. If the shuttle takes that route then you KNOW it's the quickest way, but tell cabbies to go that route and they get all pissy.

We waited 15 minutes for the bus, no big deal, and the entire time a full line of cabs sat at the taxi stand waiting for a fare with no takers. I hope they sat there all day.

I do have some sympathy for the cabbies

I know cheating people is totally wrong, but I personally know a cab driver and it's a crappy way to make a living. The driver is responsible for gas and a expensive fee paid to the company daily. The cab drivers are also at war with one another trying to steal the best trips from other cabbies and they have people who run and don't pay all the time. I think what they are doing I's wrong, but if i happened to be out a few bucks I wouldnt be too upset.

I know the companies are evil, but

until the taxi authority or the drivers do something, there is no reason to rip off the consumers. I believe that the cab companies, because they encourage long hauling, lose a lot of business because of people like me who refuse to be ripped off.

If the powers that be got off their dead asses and actually did something, they could cut down on the numbers of cars being driven in the valley by people like me. But, they won't so I'll keep driving and making the pollution worse. Hell, I don't live there.

"I'm giving you twenty bucks."

Ha, is that even legal or even work? I feel like all that would accomplish for me is pissing off everyone queued up behind me waiting for a cab.

No more cabs

I either take a shuttle or if I am with my partner, we book a limo. It's worth it just not to have to worry about getting long hauled.

I have to say that those shuttles have been very pleasant. Drivers have always been nice and I have never had to wait very long.

Screw LV taxis. I would rather walk in my Manolos from the Strat to Mandalay Bay than take another taxi.

Notary in Resort Fee?

I always wondered why some hotels include notary service in the resort fee...now I know why!  HA!


I do feel bad for the cabbies, how they are always waiting and waiting outside hotels, so its obvious they want to bank as much cash from each customer, before they have to line up and wait some more. But at the same time, no one made them be a taxi driver, it was their choice in selecting such a job.

When I goto Vegas with my family, my dad always gets us a limo from the airport to the strip. Its not cheap, but 1) u save yourself from stressing out of being long hauled or argue with the driver, 2) its a classy way to arrive at your strip hotel, 3) its Vegas, its ok to splurge a little when your there. Where else would I ride a limo besides Vegas right?

Don't we all have GPS?

Just use your phone GPS and tell the driver which route you want to go (just show him the route).  Even when I'm driving myself that's what I'll do as it factors in traffic, accidents, closures, etc.

By the way, if you are not using Waze yet instead of Google maps or whatever, you need to try it now.  Driven by user content that makes it basically real time and lots more info.

In my opinion, about 25% of the people who believe they were longhauled are actually incorrect or the difference was negligible.  Remember that fares are determined by both distance and time.

Also need to remember that leaving the airport is more expensive because of the airport fee ($1.80) for the same return route.

If you need to notarize a complaint, you get that service included in your resort fee at MGM properties and Hard Rock.

Tons of comments on this post but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is one of the more helpful ones :)

Rent A Car - all the way

I always rent a car.  I then get to go to the WAY, WAY off strip places like Hoover Dam, Boulder Highway, and Mt Charleston.  We always have one person who doesn't drink and he is the driver and the one who keeps us in line when we want to make crazy (ie stupid) bets at the table.  

Don't know why any pays

Plain and simple long-hauling is illegal. i don't know why anyone pays. I would just grab my stuff and go into the hotel and tell the cabbie to call the police and they can sort it out. I wouldn't negotiate with the cabbie or hang around, they know where to find my.. ie checking in...

The reason this hasn't stopped is because people still pay or negotiate with the cabbie.

how much?

as a uk visitor coming soon how do i know ive been longhauled?? im more than happy to argue with any cabbie, if i know the problem. How much should i be paying for cab to south strip (excalibur)??. i wouldnt know if 20 or 30 dollars is right or wrong!!. Maybe someone could do a chart of the avg/estimated costs to each areas


<a href="http://www.worldtaximeter.com">http://www.worldtaximeter.com</a>

The above website is fun to play around with. It calculates cab fare from the airport to Excalibur (3850 Las Vegas Blvd South) as $16.96



Link for clickin'

Sympathy? Maybe. Competition? Not exactly.

@tashajilek - while I get the overall sentiment of what you're saying, I can't get behind the "cab wars" you referred to - at least not exactly how you put it. While I understand it's highly competitive and the drivers need to make a living, I'd suggest the best way to go is for them to separate themselves from other drivers rather than taking a cut throat approach to fares. I'd venture to say that most of us would have no problem paying a nominally higher price to go to a 'Mom 'n Pop" store where people were personable, warm, and made the customers' satisfaction their #1 priority. Perhaps the way to attract fares would be just being personable and accommodating.

how much

excellent. thank you

another site...Nevada Taxi Commission

<a href="http://taxi.nv.gov/Rider_Info/Approximate_Minimum_Rates_-_McCarran_Airport_to_Las_Vegas_Strip_Hotels/">http://taxi.nv.gov/Rider_Info/Approximate_Minimum_Rates_-_McCarran_Airport_to_Las_Vegas_Strip_Hotels /</a>

For $3 bucks you guys are making a big deal

Forget this cab issue, you should be more concerned about the $9 bud lights at the bellagio and mirage.  

Article about enforcement efforts

A recent (29 June) article about the TA's efforts to fight long-hauling:  <a href="http://www.vegasinc.com/news/2012/jun/29/authorities-trying-new-ways-curb-taxi-long-hauling/">http://www.vegasinc.com/news/2012/jun/29/authorities-trying-new-ways-curb-taxi-long-hauling/</a>

Link for Clicking

Tips from an Honest Driver

 I am an honest cab driver, been driving over 5 years. All of these are good posts. The magic word really is "tunnel" because when you say that word the crooked cabbie knows that you know the game.(They call it "tunneling" people in the break room, where every night it's like sitting around a camp fire listening to "Fish Stories" about how they cheated people all day) If ANY vital info in the cab is covered up by Post-It notes or family photos (I.E. their ID #, their picture or name, etc) call the TA and report it, and rest assured it is probably a red flag that he/she is a crook. Also, and I hate to paint with a broad brush here, but try to avoid Desert Cab Co (white with orange stripes) and Nellis Cab Co (white with aqua blue fenders)as they are by far the worst, although any company has too many crooks. The side streets to request are Koval Lane, or Swenson/Paradise. But even then, drivers have figured out how to long haul you even without the tunnel. If you arrive at the new terminal 3 and say "no tunnel" or "please use the streets" they will still try to scam you out of about $2 by taking the long way to Swenson Street. As you head west back toward the old terminal (and see Mandalay Bay ahead) make sure the driver stays to the RIGHT and takes the CLEARLY MARKED SIGN "Swenson" which curves right and dumps you right onto Swenson. To cheat you they will stay to the LEFT and go back toward the tunnel, then turn right at the light onto Swenson, but about 3/4 a mile further south than you should already be had they stayed right. Even bolder crooks will take you EAST out of terminal 3 towards SPENCER street which sounds a lot like Swenson St, but will add even more $$ to your no-tunnel ride. Another easy extra dollar they steal is by taking Paradise TOO FAR NORTH so as to double back to your hotel. If you are going to Venetian, Palazzo, Harrah's, The Quad, Mirage, or Caesar's Palace,they should turn onto Flamingo and take it to the strip for Caesar's and the Mirage, or go right at Koval for the back way into the others. Going up Paradise all the way to Sands/Twain means you are being long hauled because they will have to go back south to get to your destination. And for any downtown destination: Taking the freeway into downtown can make sense, although the tunnel is still a rip off. Swenson to Tropicana, then to I-15 and downtown is OK. But here's where almost any trip downtown turns into a long haul. The driver should exit at Charleston Blvd and go into downtown from Main St or 4th Street. Instead they will stay on I-15, connect to I-95 south, and go around the north end of downtown, adding about $5 or more to the trip (Pay attention kippaxcol, this will save you money). Hope these tips help even more. And by all means PLEASE call the authorities when you've been ripped off. Apathy is what makes honest cab drivers lose their jobs to these crooks, I don't know how I've survived over 5 years while being honest. Thanks for your time

Last week stayed at the Wynn

It cost $17 on way there.  The way back to the airport went through the tunnel and it was over $30.  If I wasn't late for my flight I would have argued with the guy.  So annoying.  They need shuttles/flat rates.  Such a scam.  

Taxi Service

It's jewels like this that make me want to figure a way to get this guy's contact info.  I've always refrained from weighing in on the Tunnel because I've actually experienced times when it was actually faster, but by and large the side streets almost always win.

Airport shuttles

I usually take the shuttle to and from the airport, it's $14 roundtrip so it's way cheaper then a cab and no chance of getting long-hauled. I've become very experienced for the monorail and trams over my vegas trips that I have no problem taking them, it's vegas, if you're against walking then vegas isn't for you.