SOURCE: Los Angeles World Airports

November 14, 2005 18:06 ET

Los Angeles Airport Police Conducts "Sting" Operation at LAX to Reduce Illegal Commercial Vehicle Operators for Holiday Season

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 14, 2005 -- Airport Police Ground Transportation Enforcement Unit (GTEU) conducted a law enforcement operation this morning at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), resulting in four drivers cited for illegal for-hire violations and their vehicles impounded.

The goal of the law enforcement action was to enhance the personal safety and security of the general public, who use commercial ground transportation services at LAX. LAX passengers are a significant customer base for commercial ground transportation providers. With the upcoming holiday travel season to officially kick-off this Friday, Nov. 18, 2005, the police operation was conducted in an effort to reduce illegal commercial ground transportation activity at the airport. These operations are being scheduled throughout the holiday period.

Airport Police consider illegal for-hire operators (or "bandit taxis") unsafe because they are not permitted by the California Public Utilities Commission to provide for-hire transportation service nor by the City of Los Angeles to pick-up passengers at LAX. Because they are not permitted, they often do not have proper commercial drivers license or carry commercial insurance. Their vehicles often are found to have mechanical problems.

This morning's law enforcement action deployed over 15 uniformed and plain-clothes Airport Police officers.

A total of four illegal for-hire operators (or "bandit taxis") were stopped and investigated. All four drivers were cited and their vehicles impounded. One of the drivers was operating a taxi with a suspended driver's license and no permits. Another driver was operating an unmarked rented van. The other two were cited for illegally soliciting passengers in the terminals. The combined fines for citation and impound could reach over $1,000 for each driver. The drivers are required to appear in court in order to have the impoundment orders removed.

Airport Police officials are advising passengers that to ensure their personal safety, they should only board ground transportation vehicles at designated ground transportation stands on the Lower/Arrivals Level. Passengers should not accept rides from drivers who solicit them in the terminals or on the curbside.

Last March, Los Angeles Airport Police conducted a similar law enforcement operation which resulted in 14 commercial ground transportation vehicles being pulled from service and 19 drivers cited for violations.

Throughout the year, Airport Police routinely monitor illegal for-hire operators. For 2005, Airport Police have thus far issued 116 citations to drivers for operating without proper permits and/or illegal solicitation of passengers. In addition, the agency impounded 102 vehicles.

Los Angeles Airport Police is the fourth largest law enforcement agency in Los Angeles County, with over 800 sworn officers, security and traffic personnel, and civilian staff. Airport Police is a division of Los Angeles World Airports, the City department that owns and operates four airports in Southern California: LAX, Ontario International, Palmdale Regional and Van Nuys (general aviation).

Contact Information

    Officer Belinda Nettles
    (310) 646-5260