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Long-hauling trickle-down effect hurts local business

Reported by: Amber Dixon
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Updated: 4/25/2013 6:59 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Joe Panichella is taking a tour bus to get around Las Vegas after an expensive experience with a taxi.

From the airport to the flamingo, Panichella, who is from Louisiana, says a taxi charged him about $40.

According to the state, it should have only cost between $14 and $19.

Because of the long-hauling experience, Panichella says he'll be cutting back on spending at casinos and hotels.

If somebody takes a cab and finds out that they've been overcharged, they're a lot less likely to be free spending because all of the sudden they're trying to protect their wallet.

It's an issue tourism officials don't want to touch despite its potential effect on these strip resorts.

When someone arrives to the airport and takes a cab to a Strip hotel, the driver is supposed to go down Tropicana, taking a left on the Strip.

Instead, some are hopping the freeway for more money, according to a state audit.

Last year, passengers were overcharged $14.8 million.

The pinch on tourist pocket books because of long hauling is an issue David Schwartz, director of gaming research at UNLV, says casinos and hotels should be concerned about.

But those resorts are declining to comment, as is the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

“It's obviously a difficult issue to comment on because they can't control it,” Schwartz said. “They don't operate the taxi cab companies and I think that maybe they don't want to draw a lot of attention to it, but I think it would be in everyone's best interest if we could find a better way to crack down on this.

"And when somebody got off the plane at McCarran, they could be assured that they're going to take the most direct route to wherever they're going and not be overcharged.”

Panichella would appreciate that, but until then, he says the first expense he'll ax from his budget is souvenirs.

One possible solution is setting fixed rates from the airport to strip hotels. Such cities as Denver and New York already do that with specific prices from their airports to popular destinations.

There was a bill in the legislature this session to do that, but it did not make the deadline to continue.

The cab industry is said to be against having fixed rates.
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