Scott Drummonds on Virtualization

Las Vegas Taxi Rates


Let’s take a break from virtualization and talk about taxi cabs in Las Vegas.  I just got into McCarran airport after a fantastically successful VMware Partner Exchange 2010 and want to ask some of you seasoned veterans of Las Vegas to share your thoughts on a cab problem that I only learned of today.

During my short cab ride from the Mandalay Bay to McCarran (LAS) the driver and I discussed routes and fares to and from the airport.  The route from the airport, favored by taxis that pick you up at LAS, follows the highway, starting on I-215 and then to I-15, at a cost of around $28.  This as opposed to the more direct, airport-bound trip on Paradise, Tropicana and the Boulevard, which takes less time and totals only $11.50.  I asked my driver, “Why do the taxis to the airport take the second, shorter, cheaper route when the hotel-bound taxis always take the highway?”  The driver answered simply: “Airport taxis are f****** crooks.”

I have spent a little time investigating these two routes on Google maps and they do not seem to be dramatically different in terms of total length.  But clearly the fares differ widely.  I am sure the taxis prefer a larger fare but might there be an innocuous reason for the highway route?  Perhaps the risk of traffic delay is decreased by taking the highway and avoiding the strip?

My driver today seemed certain that greed fuels the decision to take the longer route.  He said that no visitor should ever pay more than $12 for a ride from the airport.  He advised me to refuse payment to the next cabbie that took me for the long ride.  He also said a call to the taxi cab company, which gains from the overcharge, would have no effect.  But a call to the taxi cab authority is justified and would result in a $300 fine to the taxi company for the long haul.

Has anyone ever taken the short route from the airport?  Are there any problems with getting taxis to take that route instead of the highway?  Is there a good reason to take the highway instead of surface streets?

11 Responses

Not sure this is the case everywhere, but my experience is that you will pay more from the airport than to the airport. The reason is that in many airports only Taxi companies that pay some form of fee are allowed to pick up people from the airport and they pass the extra cost on to the customers usually in the form of a flat rate, but everyone is allowed to take people to the airport. Solution? Go to the departures section where people are arriving at the airport and getting out of the cab, and take that cab.

    • The authorities are VERY wise to this trick at the 4th busiest in the world and the busiest taxicab pickup point in the world, which is McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Won’t work. They even have under-cover cops doing sting operations to trick cabbies to pick up at departures, so they can give them a huge ticket.

  • Did the taxi driver ask you if you wanted the fast route? I remember from VMworld 08, I shared a cab to the airport with someone from EMC.

    When I was getting into the taxi, the taxi driver asked us if we wanted the fast route. Well…yeah of course we do.

    I didn’t realize fast route literally meant get on the freeway, drive 100 mph for a couple of minutes, then exit the freeway and drive to the airport.

    Apparently that’s common…

    • You would be surprised how many times I was accused of trying to rip people off because I never used the freeway unless there was a good reason or they asked me to. In Chicago or New York, NOT taking the freeway means the cabbie is trying to rack up the fare. But in Vegas, it is usually the other way around.

      • I am just curious how come Vegas Taxi Driver is following Drummonds’ vpivot? Virtualize your drive!

  • I had the exact same experience and conversation with my trip to PEX.

    I wasn’t paying attention and I didn’t get a reciept sadly but I’ll know for next time.

  • Yeah, that’s almost twice the published rate:
    LAS to Luxor:$12.78-14.78
    The only way the strip would be more expensive is if you spent a half hour in traffic (possible). Good drivers will take you down one of the streets behind the hotels parallel to the strip, short AND fast =)

  • I was a Las Vegas cabbie up until a year ago, for 4 years prior to that. I have blogged extensively about long-hauling and how cab companies pressure, and almost force, Las Vegas cabbies to long-haul.

    But, in the instance of Airport to Mandalay Bay you are incorrect, especially if you are staying at The Hotel at M-Bay, which is the back tower. Looking at google map of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV, you can see that the distance is no where near twice as long by going on the freeway, so the fare should never be $28 – it should be around $22 going the most direct way off the freeway (the exit is to the back road Frank Sinatra) – with the the $1.80 airport fee.

    Going the way you suggest, going FROM the airport to M-Bay, will always be $18 – $20, OR MORE depending on traffic, with the airport fee included, because it is longer to go FROM the airport TO M-Bay, than it is to return, because of the left turns and the lights you have to wait for.

    If there is traffic, many times the “short” way you suggest from airport to M-Bay costs considerably more, because you are paying $30 per hour to sit in traffic and wait for the lights. One time I took a seasoned Las Vegas veteran who argued with me and wanted to go the “short” way during the rodeo, which makes Tropicana Ave a big long mess. He paid me the $56 on the meter (going the “short” way), with a 20% tip, and apologized for not believing me.

    You were over-charged at $28. But the taxi cab authority, which you linked to in your article, lists approx fee to Tropicana Hotel from airport at $15.26. You have to go way past Trop to get to M-Bay. Hence, it costs $18 – $20.

    It is impossible to get FROM airport to M-Bay via cab for $11.50, or even less than $16, and if you come here again I will ride with you and bet you $100.

    You got “taken” twice by cabbies.

    One cabbie added an extra leg to your freeway trip.

    The other cab lied to you about the fare from airport to M-Bay, so you would think he was honest, and give him a tip.

    Read my blog article about how not to get long-hauled by a cab driver.

  • I just went to Vegas this weekend and the driver asked, “do you want to go the freeway?”. I said which ever is quicker, he said, “it’s quicker but cost $3-4 more dollars” I said no. Go the other way. He went the free way anyway. From LAS to the Imperial Palace was $22.10.

  • I go to Vegas every three months and have encountered the same disturbing problem. I now use the shuttle companies. They charge about $6 and are more friendly. Shame on the taxi drivers. When the economy is down, that’s when you can’t afford to lose any customers and need to really provide a good service for the repeat customers you want and need.