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Airport Cabs

October 07, 1985

When returning to Los Angeles by air, it is my practice to take a taxicab to either my home or place of business. Because of their close proximity to the airport, a cab is both a time and money saver. Even with a tip whose size is more appropriate for a fare two or three times larger, the cost is usually less than that to leave my car in a peripheral parking lot.

At one time things were not as easy. When the drivers would find out that I was not interested in going to Hollywood or the San Fernando Valley, they would pass me to the guy in back. The law aside, they were not interested in a small fare. Some time back with the installation of "cab starters," the situation changed dramatically for the better as individual drivers could no longer easily refuse a fare.

Recently, however, a situation has developed that I'm afraid may so weaken the already precarious economic position of the airport cab drivers that the system will break down, and once again the short-haul customer will find himself having to pay a ransom for a brief ride. The problem is the proliferation of limousine drivers aggressively soliciting fares from passengers exiting the baggage claim areas. Under present conditions they are only interested in individuals and groups going to the most profitable locations. In effect, they are being allowed to skim off the cream of the passenger market from the duly licensed taxicab drivers.

MICHAEL ERNSTOFF

Los Angeles

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