LINTHICUM, Md. - Anne Arundel County police cracked down on cab drivers attempting to bilk passengers out of extra cash in an undercover sting operation carried out at three busy locations Friday morning.
Several drivers were cited by police.
A cab driver cannot refuse a fare because of how the person looks, where they're going or the length of the trip. Also, drivers are not allowed to bundle passengers going to the same place.
But some still try.
Anne Arundel County police clamped down on cabbies not following the rules. Officers in plain clothes caught cab rides at the BWI Amtrak station.
Most cabbies took whatever fares that came up, but others either refused short, low paying fares outright, or tried to group several passengers.
Andy Mallanzo was visiting town from New York and was just trying to get to a hotel when a driver grouped him with an undercover cop.
"That's not happened in New York. It's impossible I thought that maybe I'm out of New York … maybe they do things differently here," he said.
And that's part of the problem.
Most cab passengers don't know what their rights are and what a cab driver can and cannot do. Even some cab drivers played ignorant to the rules.
"We got a lot of refusals," said Cpl. Nick DiPietro, of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. "We had one gentlemen who refused five separate officers at different times. We had several meter violations they were overcharging us for trips to local locations.
Passenger complaints prompted today's sting. Law-abiding drivers commended police for cracking down on the shoddy practices that they've witness for a long time.
"I don't have a problem," Bob Deen, a cab driver said. "You have to do that. We have bad people. We have good people sometimes, and we dealing with the public and when you stop me I don't have a problem with that."
The profit margin, especially for independent drivers is very, very small and they say if people are discouraged from riding in cabs it hurts everyone.
"I think it's good for the public it should be done more often," Rob Luber, another driver, said.
County police ran two other sting operations in other trouble spots at Maryland Live Casino and the Cromwell Light Rail station.