When you step inside a taxi, you expect to be treated fairly and professionally. But when consumer Boyd Norris got in his cab, he got the opposite. When he arrived at his destination, the cab driver asked him for $70, an outrageous amount, and wouldn’t provide a receipt for the ride.
Norris had stayed at a Days Inn in Atlanta. When he found his ridesharing app wasn’t working, he came to the front desk. He asked them to call him a cab and the front desk did. In just a few minutes a car was there, complete with a taxi sign on top.
But when Norris go into the car, there was no meter. In fact, there was no way for Norris to know how much the driver was going to charge. So you can imagine his surprise when the total cost of the trip was $70 and he couldn’t even get a receipt.
Something didn’t seem right about this taxi...so he called TrustDALE to investigate!
In an undercover operation, a TrustDALE producer went to the same hotel and asked for a taxi. She spoke with the same woman whom Norris had spoken to. The woman at the front desk said she would call a cab, and within minutes a car arrived. It was the same car that had come to pick up Norris!
Right away there were warning signs. There was no meter in the car. The cab driver said that the trip downtown would be $30 if paid in cash, but $250 by credit card! To make matters even worse, there were no license plates on the car. That’s illegal in Georgia.
We took this information and a video of our interaction with the driver to the Georgia Department of Public Safety. It turns out, it’s not illegal to offer this kind of car service. However, driving without a license plate is illegal, and the Georgia Department of Public Safety is authorized to send a cease and desist letter to businesses it believes are operating unsafely.
It turns out, this taxi service was operating under the name Consulate Limousine and Taxi Service. The Georgia Department of Public Safety sent them a cease and desist letter. That should mean that they need to shut down operations. But instead, it seems that Consulate Limousine and Taxi Service actually applied for a license to become a legitimate taxi company.
How to Protect Yourself
It’s important to know how to stay safe when hiring a taxi service. While there are thousands of legitimate, safe taxis in Georgia, there are a few bad apples. You can keep yourself safe by following these safety tips.
- Ask about prices and tipping. Your hotel staff should be able to tell you about how much a ride should cost and what kind of tip is appropriate. Confirm the fare with the driver before your trip begins.
- Make sure you have the right car. Ask the dispatcher for a car number. Confirm the number on the vehicle, or at the least the name and phone number of the taxi company, before you get in.
- Look for a badge and a meter. Any legitimate taxi will have a running trip meter where you can see your fare in real time. Your driver should also have a taxi driver’s license posted where it’s easy to see. If you don’t see a meter or an ID badge, don’t get in.
- Sit in the back seat, not the passenger seat. That puts you where you can see the driver but the driver can’t see you as well. 99% of the time taxi drivers are safe and courteous, by riding in the back seat can keep you out of harm’s way.
- Know where you’re going. Use your smartphone to get a general sense of where you’re going and how long it should take you to get there. Your driver may know a shortcut or two, but if you’re heading in the completely wrong direction, feel free to get out of the cab at the first opportunity.
As always, your safety comes first.
To view a listing of all TrustDALE Certified limousine and taxi companies in your area, click here.