Getting charged the correct fare in a Las Vegas taxi is hit and miss. There are some cab drivers that a pleasant and take you to your destination as you’d expect. Unfortunate about 25% to 50% of all taxi drivers take you out of the way forcing you to pay more than you should. There are tales of people being charged $30 for a taxi ride that cost them $15 going the other direction. This is not cool and here are some ways to protect yourself from being overcharged by Las Vegas taxi drivers.
No Tunnel – Telling the taxi driver “no tunnel” is the most basic thing to tell the driver before heading to your destination from McCarran Airport. The tunnel adds 2-3 miles and around $5 to your taxi fare. You don’t need the tunnel so don’t take it.
Know the correct price – Know how much a taxi ride should cost before getting in the cab. Here are a few resources to help. The taxi commission has approximate fares from McCarran Airport to various Vegas strip hotels listed on their website. They list off strip and Downtown Vegas hotel taxi fares too. If you’re going to a specific destination you can use this taxi fare calculator for an approximate price (they have an app for Android phone users).
Keep an eye on the fare meter – Some of the fare meters may be broken or tampered with. Just keep an eye on the meter to make sure you’re being charged the correct amount. Taxi meters begin with an initial fee of $3.30. If you’re coming from the airport you can add another $1.60. The base fare is $2.60 per mile and if you’re stuck in traffic the standing fee is .25 cents per minute.
Pay what you want – If you sense that you’re being long hauled by taxi driver just tell them that you know the ride should only cost $x.xx and pay them that amount. This may seem controversial but if the driver is overcharging you they won’t say anything. You’re probably not going to want to tip the driver in this instance.
Take a bus – The bus is one of the least expensive ways to get around Las Vegas. Tickets cost $6 and up depending on how much you plan on riding (it’s less for residents). Here’s the bus ticket prices.
Shuttles & Car Services – You can avoid being overcharged by not taking a taxi at all. Some hotels offer free shuttles. You can also order a shuttle service in advance. If you’d rather go directly to your destination and don’t mind paying a little more you can pre-plan your rides with a car service like Presidential Limo.
Use Cash – Las Vegas taxis charge $3 on top of your fee and tip if you use a credit or debit card. This is way too much of a fee for a credit card. If there’s any fee it should be whatever the credit card companies charge. Make sure you have cash in your pocket.
A little advance planning for your Vegas vacation will save you money. There are links to anything you might want to protect yourself. Lastly, report drivers to the Nevada Taxicab Commission you’re overcharged.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.