Using five undercover officers, Glendale Police this week put the
sting on "gypsy" cab companies working in Glendale without licenses,
nabbing two drivers.
Police have had complaints from residents and licensed cab
companies about unlicensed cabbies. One complaint came from a man who
was in an accident while riding in a cab, but when he made an
insurance claim, he found out the company was not licensed in
Glendale, Glendale Police Investigator Matt Gunnell said.
Several licensed cab companies have also called the city clerk and
police, complaining that unlicensed companies are usurping their
business and not following city rules, Gunnell said.
City law requires cab companies to be licensed, and show proof of
their license by displaying one decal on the left rear bumper of the
cab and a vehicle license decal in the center of the vehicle.
Driving unlicensed cabs in Glendale is a misdemeanor, and drivers
of those cabs can be given a citation.
"We are going to step up enforcement of gypsy cabs," Gunnell said
Thursday. "Sometimes things don't get addressed unless complaints
come in, which they have. But if we do it just once and back off,
then it's not going to be effective.
"You know a cab is licensed because there are two diamond-shaped
seal decals in the center of cab, with a city of Glendale seal on the
doors. A sticker with the year on it should say 2004," Gunnell said.
During Wednesday's sting, five undercover officers called for cabs
from the Glendale-based Northwest Yellow Cab and the Los
Angeles-based LA Yellow Cab, two cab companies named in complaints.
Once the undercover officer got into two Northwest Yellow Cab cars
and the meter started running, motorcycle officers stopped the
drivers. One driver was issued a citation for operating an unlicensed
cab in Glendale. The second driver was pulled over and arrested on
suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, having several
syringes and being under the influence of heroin, officials said.
Police said they called LA Yellow Cab but no cabs responded,
saying they don't serve Glendale.
Glendale Municipal Code states that taxicabs cannot be more than 8
years old and all must pass an annual safety and compliance
inspection and certification by the city clerk. In addition, cabs
must pass an inspection by a city-approved mechanic. According to
city code, cab owners' permits cost $475, a vehicle inspection fee is
$50, an annual license fee is $100, an annual driver permit
application fee is $70 and a late penalty fee is $20.
Harry Semirjyan, the owner of Northwest Yellow Cab, said his
company, although based in Glendale, typically only operates in Santa
The driver who was arrested was new to the company, and Semirjyan
said he did not know him.