You are buying groceries when a woman asks you if you know how she can get a ride home. Does she need to call a taxi? You say, “No, I’ll give you a ride home.”
When you drop her off, she says, “Can I pay you something for your trouble?” You say she doesn’t need to, but she insists.
The next thing you know, you are surrounded by police who impound your car and give you $2,000 worth of tickets for running an illegal taxi service.
In most U.S. states, it is illegal to accept money for giving someone a ride unless you are a licensed taxi driver, a public transit agency, or a private bus company — and in the latter case you can only go to selected destinations such as the airport. Taxi drivers, transit agencies, and transit unions support this protection of their cartels.
Is it really worthwhile for the police to set up stings such as the one that caught this man in Miami? Miami isn’t the most dangerous city in America, but I suspect police have a lot of more important things they can do. I am sure Emily Proctor could entrap a lot of guys into giving her illegal taxi rides, but it wouldn’t make a very entertaining plot line in CSI Miami.