Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Stop the Limousine Bribes

Here's a fact I never knew: when you're staying at a hotel and need to catch a cab, the limo drivers who compete with cabs are allowed to bribe (oh, excuse me, "tip") the doormen of the hotel to get your business, while the cab drivers cannot.

I just found this out because Minneapolis cab drivers held a park-in protest yesterday at several downtown hotels, where it appears to be common for limo drivers to pay $10 to get a fare. 

“This is not supposed to happen,” said Walter Mendez, a Minneapolis cabdriver who is participating in what he called “a strike.”

Mendez said door attendants will “hold customers until a limousine comes.” He said he’s complained for the past month to city officials to no avail.
Ten dollars just to get a fare? Wow -- how much does the fare cost, if $10 is inconsequential? I assume the cost of that bribe is passed along to passenger.

The problem is that limo drivers are licensed under state law, while cab drivers are licensed by the city. Limo drivers are allowed by law to bribe other people to get fares. Oh, I keep forgetting to the correct term. They're allowed to "tip."

Grant Wilson, Minneapolis’ manager of licenses and consumer services, had this to say about the discrepancy:
However, Wilson added, cabdrivers are licensed by the city and are forbidden from doing the same. “We said, ‘Why don’t we ask the City Council to amend that code [and allow tipping by cabdrivers] and have a level playing field?’ ” Wilson said. The [cab] drivers rejected that suggestion.
No, Mr. Wilson, that is exactly backwards. Allowing cab drivers to bribe doormen will only increase the cost of rides. The thing to do away with is limo drivers' right to bribe. Bribery is destructive to the kind of society we want to live in.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Wow. I didn't know this either. I occasionally take a cab from downtown to home, and I usually walk to a hotel because I know there'll be cabs in front of it. I have always taken a cab. But then, I don't deal with the hotel doormen at all when I do this so they cannot make me wait for a limo. I didn't know limos were competing now with cabs. I'd always considered limos to be something one called and reserved because they were far more expensive. Wow.