taxiMost tourists who come to Vegas to gamble expect to leave some money behind in the casinos. But most who ride cabs in from the airport don’t expect to be vastly overcharged by going a scenic route, a practice that typically tacks on about $10 per fare.  A recent legislative audit, however, shows that’s exactly what happened in 2012: to the tune of an estimated  $14.8 million.

Taxicab Authority Held Accountable

The report criticized the Taxicab Authority for not doing more to prevent the circuitous jaunts, which drivers do intentionally to run up meter charges and which amounted to 22.5 percent of the 2,730 airport trips made last year from McCarran International, usually to casino-hotels on the Strip, that the auditors took a look at.

The words in their report were not kind to Las Vegas’ cab drivers. “Taxicab trips are often the first and last experience tourists have in Las Vegas,” they wrote. “Therefore, long hauling may result in tourists having a negative experience.”

That’s assuming they even know they’ve been hustled; how many tourists to Sin City know their way around enough to know the difference? Although, come to think of it, the airport’s not that far from most of the Strip hotels, as it was built when Las Vegas Boulevard extended a couple of blocks (see “Viva Las Vegas” with Elvis and Ann-Margret for this way before-Steve Wynn universe).

No Internal Audits

The report also chided the Taxicab Authority for not having done any internal audits in more than 3 1/2 years, making it hard for this overseeing body to even know what was happening in its own organization. The Authority oversees some 9,000 drivers (maybe two of whom speak English) with 16 different cab companies.

The auditors were also concerned with a lack of proper time stamp use on more than half of the 600 driver trip sheets they reviewed, noting that they have no way of knowing without them how many hours drivers are working, or if they are chauffeuring tourists while utterly exhausted.

“The Taxicab Authority accepts the audit recommendations to improve the effectiveness of internal controls and operational and compliance-related activities and will put measures into place to address those findings,” said Taxicab Authority agency administrator Charles Harvey.

The Taxicab Authority has until July 17th to come back with a plan of action to get their cabs under control. It will then have to file a six-month follow up report by mid-January.

And you thought your work assignments sucked.