MIAMI - A Local 10 investigation finds that the number of taxi cab drivers overcharging customers may be rising.
Local 10's Ross Palombo took ten cabs from Miami International Airport to Coral Gables. He was surprised by what the flat fare of $17 actually cost.
Special section: Local 10 Investigates
Cab drivers repeatedly asked for $19 or $20.
Ivan Cotayo, a taxi enforcement officer, said that the cab drivers aren't allowed to charge an extra fee because a customer uses a credit card, something drivers asked Palombo. Cab drivers who asked for an extra fee may be ticketed $250.
Cotayo said that he often finds problems when inspecting Miami-Dade County's 2,121 licensed cabs.
In Local 10's investigation, 20 percent of the cabs had broken lights, 30 percent were dirty or damaged, and 40 percent charged wrong fares.
"That's a big number," Cotayo said in response to the percentage of wrong fares.
After issuing 25 tickets for overcharging in 2012, 19 tickets were issued in the first half of 2013.
"One of the things you have to have in mind is at least we are out there and monitoring this," said Cotayo.
Cotayo added 17 inspectors isn't enough for all of Miami-Dade County.
Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio Gonzalez issued a statement after the story aired Monday, saying: "Penalizing this deceptive and disrespectful treatment of our passengers by some of the taxicab drivers at MIA has been one of my highest priorities since I was appointed Aviation Director on April 1. I fully support the ordinance with a pending hearing before the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners that would require all taxicabs operating at MIA and PortMiami be equipped with credit card processing systems that produce a written receipt detailing the date and time the trip starts and ends, total distance travelled, fare charged, name and telephone number of the taxi company, and the telephone number and email address for filing complaints with the Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources. I look forward to working with Mayor Gimenez and our County Commissioners to develop initiatives that will eradicate this deplorable treatment of our travellers, who are the lifeblood of our local economy."
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