Tipped by cab drivers, a three-month investigation by KNBC-TV showed how the majority of L.A.’s 6,000 taxis had rigged their meters to illegally overcharge customers. The investigation also uncovered that city officials had known all about this fraud for years, yet did nothing to stop it until the KNBC-TV reports aired.
The investigative team — reporter Joel Grover, producer Matt Goldberg, photographers Jose Hernandez and David Fernandez, and editor James Hourani — noted that sweeping changes have occurred as a result of the investigation. Los Angeles Department of Transportation enacted tough new regulations for the taxi industry, the city increased penalties for drivers caught cheating, and every taxi is required to be equipped with a tamper-proof meter.
Judges said the story “not only kept us interested, it also prompted action from California officials. This story affects Californians, but it could potentially affect anyone who rides in a taxi nationwide. We believe this story affects a larger demographic than any other story we viewed. This investigative team went to great lengths to ‘drive’ home this issue and succeeded. Well done!”
The investigative team also noted that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation is doing its own sting operations on taxis, modeled after KNBC’s investigation.