Police: Investigation reveals cab drivers overcharging fares

Published: Jan. 15, 2014 at 10:54 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2015 at 2:23 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Some taxicab drivers were caught overcharging fares on the peninsula, according to the Charleston Police Department.

An investigation conducted by the Charleston Police Department led to 11 cab drivers being cited for overcharging fares, and two cab drivers cited for not having a chauffeur's license.

The Charleston Police Department says the plain clothes police officers were overcharged from $3 to $15.

The cab drivers were issued $133 for overcharging fares, and drivers who didn't have a chauffeur's license were issued citations for $92.

According to a police report, an officer took two cab rides on April 19, 2013 and was overcharged by both drivers, while another officer took seven cab rides on Dec. 16, 2013 and was overcharged by four of the drivers. Authorities also report an officer took eight rides on Dec. 31, 2013 and was overcharged by five drivers.

Police say all of the cab rides in the investigation happened on the peninsula, requiring a $5 flat rate plus fuel surcharge set by City Ordinance 31-196, which was passed on March 22, 2011.

The drivers were told about the operation and issued a citation if the fare was over the flat rate.

The ordinance states:

Sec. 31-196. - Metered rates and non-metered zone rates.

(a) No taxicab operator shall charge any passenger more than the fixed fare or rate for transportation or waiting time as determined and prescribed by the city council which is hereby declared to be as follows:

(1) The maximum rates to be charged for taxicab service on the peninsula shall be as follows:

a. There shall be a five-dollar ($5.00) flat rate fee for all trips that pick up and discharge on the peninsula.

b. For peninsula trips with more than one (1) passenger, a one-dollar ($1.00) surcharge is permitted to be charged to each additional passenger after the first passenger.

(2) The maximum rates to be charged for taxicab service outside of the peninsula shall be as follows:

a. For the first two (2) miles, or fraction thereof, four dollars and no cents ($4.00); for each succeeding one-fifth (1/5) mile or fraction thereof, thirty-five cents ($0.35).

b. A one-dollar ($1.00) surcharge may be charged per passenger above the first passenger.

(3) Gas surcharge.

a. A gas surcharge shall be permitted to be charged per trip at the following amount:

Gas Price Surcharge

$3.00 $0.50

$3.50 $1.00

$4.00 $1.50

$4.50 $2.00

$5.00 $2.50

$6.00 $3.00

$6.50 $3.50

The gas price shall be as determined by Carolina AAA. It shall be the duty of every driver to verify the gas price.

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