Questions People Ask Las Vegas Cabbies




by Vegas Taxi Driver
July 17, 2007

There was a series on HBO called "Taxicab Confessions" supposedly about what it is like to be a Las Vegas cabbie. In my opinion, most of the filming was staged and bogus. People think that being a Las Vegas taxi driver is exciting or something, but for the most part it is routine, structured, and almost sterile. Some of the other jobs I have had were much more exciting. For the most part, being a Las Vegas cabbie is like operating the train at Disneyland.

Here are some commonly asked questions:


No. But I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night. Of course I live in Las Vegas!


Well, there is a bunker underneath Caesars Palace where we all sleep. They wake us up and feed us breakfast and send us to work. Where do people live in your town?


No I do not. I have moved back and forth between here and my hometown several times, and when I was not living here I would visit Las Vegas with friends and gamble and drink and take taxis like any other tourist. I have no interest in casinos while living here and working as a cabbie. The Strip is the Disneyland of Las Vegas, and a small part of Las Vegas. If you drove the train at Disneyland you would not spend your days off at Disneyland.


No. All taxi drivers in Las Vegas are employees. There are nine taxi companies in Las Vegas that own all the taxis. All the drivers are employees of one of those companies. The rates and rules for taxicabs are regulated by the Nevada Taxicab Authority which is a Nevada State law enforcement agency. The Nevada Taxicab Authority has marked and unmarked squad cars that are constantly monitoring taxis to make certain they are not breaking the rules.


Most taxis in Las Vegas can pick up anywhere. The name of the game is to get a ride as soon as possible after dropping off passengers. That may be the hotel next door or the airport or downtown. Cabbies have to try and guess which place is the best place to go to get a ride quickly. Las Vegas taxi drivers keep track of what conventions are in town, and what concerts or boxing matches are scheduled, and what times shows get over at various hotels.

Taxis are unable to get to the Las Vegas Convention Center when big conventions are getting out during rush hour traffic, so most cabbies will not try to get to the Las Vegas Convention Center even though there are hundreds of people waiting in line for taxis. Las Vegas cabbies are straight commission employees and nobody pays them to sit empty for half an hour trying to get to the Las Vegas Convention Center. In fact, many cabbies in Las Vegas have to pay for gas, and sitting empty in a traffic jam costs them money.

Some of the hotels, such as Venetian and Hard Rock, are not worth driving to empty to get a ride, even if they have huge crowds of people waiting to get a cab. Those places are dysfunctional when it comes to loading cabs, and it is better for cabbies to go elsewhere.

After midnight there are no cabs dropping off at McCarran Airport, so the only way to get cabs at the airport after midnight is for them to drive there empty. But if the strip is busy, the cabs are getting reloaded each time they drop off. Many of the cabbies that drive empty to pick up at the airport do so with the hopes of being able to long-haul customers. I like picking up at the airport late at night in order to avoid extremely drunk customers.

Being a Las Vegas cabbie is mild and relatively non-eventful. In other American cities cabbies have to know how to find addresses spread over hundreds of square miles. They deal with all kinds of locals and grocery runs and hospitals and people getting to work. There are 2 million people living in the Las Vegas area. About 10% of the taxis are restricted from picking up on the Strip or the airport for the sake of locals. For the rest of the taxis, about 97% of the business is on the Las Vegas Strip, Downtown Las Vegas, and McCarran International Airport. All a Las Vegas cabbie has to know how to get to the Mirage and the airport. Once you learn those you can find the rest of the places easily because they are so big. In order to become a financial successful Las Vegas cabbie one needs to learn how to take people the long way, steal rides from other cabbies, and turn down rides that are too short or not profitable. That is why I am not a financially successful cabbie. I just do what I am supposed to and take people the short way.

by Vegas Taxi Driver
July 17, 2007


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