I-Team: Cabbie Kickback Fight Going to the Airwaves

A local organization says women are being discriminated against by Las Vegas cab drivers and they're taking the fight to the airwaves.

The I-Team reported earlier this week how some cab drivers, eager to get $100 a head bounty from strip clubs, will pick up male passengers rather than women.

The bounty business is big money, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars every year paid to cab and limo drivers by strip clubs to attract customers. The new organization, Fairness in Transportation, wants to put a stop to it.

We Don't Do Business That Way 

So starting Thursday, commercials will be running on the Las Vegas airwaves.

Attorney Al Marquis is the spokesman for the organization. He devised the experiment with hired actors and demonstrated, time and again, that when given a choice between male and female fares, the drivers will pick the men who are more likely to visit a strip club.

In addition to the ads running on KLAS and other stations, Marquis is taking his fight to casinos bosses. He's sent a letter to every major casino in town, putting them on notice that their doormen are directly involved in the kickback scheme, working with limo drivers and splitting the bounty, mostly to the detriment of cab drivers and, Marquis says, the tourists in general.

Marquis warns the casinos that it could be affecting their bottom line because tourists trying to get to their casinos have either been diverted to strip clubs or don't want to come back because they felt pressured by doormen, drivers, or both.

"We are going on the air and we need legislation on this. We have a rule through the Cab Authority that cab drivers are prohibited from diverting cab passengers to another destination and taking tips for doing that, but it's not enforced," he said. "The situation is only growing worse and this is bad for Las Vegas. It's got to get enforced."

Marquis says he wants to see legislation that has some teeth -- a cab driver or a limo driver who tries to divert a passenger would get a fine. The second time they would get a bigger fine and the third time their license would be revoked.


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