DENVER (CBS4) – The Public Utilities Commission has told 10 limousine drivers they could be fined $13,000 each for picking up riders off Denver streets following a CBS4 investigation into ride services operating illegally.
It began with two women who were sexually assaulted in separate incidents after getting into cars they thought were legally operating ride services. The rule is clear — only taxis are allowed to accept passengers off the street. But CBS4’s Britt Moreno and a producer found plenty of other drivers willing to accept money under the table.
The Public Utilities Commission regulates the ride services.
“We were glad to see your story to bring public attention to this and we realized we needed to go down there to do some enforcement,” Public Utilities Commission Director Doug Dean said.
They sent undercover investigators into LoDo to do much what CBS4 did — attempt to hail rides. They found of 25 Uber Black luxury limos they approached, 15 declined rides and 10 accepted what’s called a street hail.
“Some of them wanted to argue with us that what they were doing was legal, but it is just not legal,” Dean said.
Each driver was hit with a $13,310 fine for operating illegally and without proper insurance. If they can prove they had insurance that would have covered the riders a large portion of the fine will be dropped.
“This is a big public safety concern,” Dean said.
Police are still searching for the drivers who raped two women last year who got into cars that shouldn’t have picked them up.
Uber pointed out to CBS4 that the fined drivers were operating off of the Uber app, which the company doesn’t allow. The company says if their drivers are caught doing that they will be terminated from the service.