Taking a taxi in Los Angeles is already a stretch, what with the city's expansiveness and inevitable traffic from point A to point B.
But sometimes, when you're stranded at the airport with eight solid hours worth of recycled air in your lungs and a duffel bag cutting off circulation to your arm, hailing a cab is the only way to go.
As of today, Authorized Taxicab Supervision, the corporate giant who owns the LAX fleet, will be profitting off that desperation.
After all, what's $1.50 more on a base taxi fare (it currently sits at $2.50, same as New York) when your sanity is at stake? Here's how much the company, who already has a naughty reputation for mismanaging funds, will be making off said desperation, now that the meter starts at $4:
About $2 million more per year, most of which will go to their landlord, the Los Angeles World Airport.
The L.A. City Council voted unanimously this afternoon to extend the taxi mogul's contract another 10 years and let them raise fares, staying well within the parameters of the council's one-and-only formula for generating city revenue during the California budget crisis: Taking it from voters' pockets without ever having to get our approval.
In 2007, then-City Controller Laura Chick found that, among other horrid money mismanagements, Los Angeles World Airport officials "did not provide adequate oversight of ATS to ensure compliance with the Operating Agreement."
The city's Board of Airport Commissioners is confident that ATS corruption has cleared, but the L.A. Taxi Workers Alliance told the Los Angeles Times differently:
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The Los Angeles Taxi Workers Alliance, an advocacy group, contends that the taxi firm continues to have questionable finances and treats drivers poorly, providing inadequate facilities and sometimes banning cabdrivers from the airport without sufficient cause. ...
"We are very upset and deeply disappointed that the city is again rewarding corruption," said Hamid Khan of the Los Angeles Taxi Workers Alliance, who called for a criminal investigation into alleged wrongdoing by the firm.
The first wave of extra profits will go toward pimping out the taxi dispatch area, including the construction of driver restrooms and new podiums, according to the board's report.
Worth a $4 startup fee? You tell us.