Tahoe police arrest a taxi driver on code violation | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe police arrest a taxi driver on code violation

Jill Darby

Stateline Taxi Owner Jeffrey Lincoln was cited Thursday by South Lake Tahoe Police for failing to comply with city taxi ordinances.

Lincoln said he was “set up.”

According to Marcel Mattingly, South Lake Tahoe Police Department’s taxi enforcement officer, Stateline Taxi is not permitted to pick up passengers within the city of South Lake Tahoe.

“(Lincoln) is not licensed in the city of South Lake Tahoe and he does not have a permit to do point-to-point service in Nevada,” Mattingly said. “But to do pick up in Nevada and drop off in California, you can’t bother him because it’s interstate commerce commission. So he can pick up in Nevada and drop off in California but he cannot pick up in the city of South Lake Tahoe because we have a city ordinance that says anyone who wants to operate within the city limits, meaning pick up in the city, has to apply to the city for a city permit, go through application and licensing processes, go through a background check and then there is an open hearing. If the driver is approved, then he or she gets a city permit and has to pay for it. (Lincoln) has never done this.”

Undercover South Lake Tahoe Police officers were picked up Thursday by Lincoln, on Ski Run Boulevard in the city of South Lake Tahoe and driven to the “Y,” police reported. Upon reaching their destination, officers advised Lincoln he was in violation of the city of South Lake Tahoe ordinance regulating taxi services within the city limits. Lincoln was cited for ordinance violations including having no city taxi permit, improper postage of taxi rates, use of a scanner and not registering the color scheme of the taxi.

“The thing is, I was called to pick up in Nevada,” Lincoln explained. “The officer called me to the Goal Post (on Kingsbury Grade). That’s where the first police officer got into the cab. He had me drive him to Embassy Suites Vacation Resort on Ski Run. The first officer got out there and the second two got in and that’s the only way they got me over there.”

Lincoln said he knew he was not supposed to pick up passengers in the city of South Lake Tahoe, but made a poor decision that day.

“I was flagged at the door and I just did it,” Lincoln said. “It was a bad decision but I wouldn’t have been there in the first place if they hadn’t called me out there. I was set up. It was completely staged.”

Prior to citing Lincoln, the police department received numerous complaints that Stateline Taxi was using a radio scanner to listen to calls dispatched to other taxi companies within the city, then “jumping” those calls, in essence stealing business.

“The problem with scanners is there have been a lot of companies that are legal that are complaining that a lot of other cab companies, mainly Stateline, have been stealing their fares,” Mattingly said. “We’re just trying to make it right for the drivers and companies who pay their fees and have their licensing.”

Lincoln responded to the citation.

“The color of my car is not registered with the city because I’m not registered in the city of South Lake Tahoe,” he said. “You know, they sell scanners at Kmart, Radio Shack. They’re not illegal to own. Only South Lake Tahoe cab drivers are not allowed to have them in their taxis. I did not agree to that ordinance when I signed up to get the taxi.”

Lincoln said he has contacted the city attorney and hopes to get the situation resolved and his cab out of impound before he is scheduled to appear in court March 3.

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