Hundreds of people getting nighttime cab rides in Duluth last year failed to pay for them, leading police officers to spend hours writing up reports and causing cab drivers to lose business time.
After reviewing the numbers from 2009, police and the cab companies in Duluth decided to prevent such incidents by requiring passengers to pay their fares upfront.
Starting April 1, passengers seeking rides between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. will have to either pre-pay or show they can pay before they are taken anywhere.
Sgt. Jeff Kazel of the Duluth Police Department said police received more than 100 complaints about passengers not paying their cab fares.
In discussions with the city's three main cab companies along with a few others, police learned some of the companies were experiencing two or three incidents each night that they didn't report to police, Kazel said.
"If it was under $10 it just wasn't worth their time to tie up the cab for an hour, and tie up a police squad for an hour, taking a report," he said. "This is a pretty simple solution."
Kazel said police and the cab companies are hopeful that the number of incidents will go down dramatically. The new policy will also help the police department reach an overall goal of being more efficient, he said.
"We're trying to cut down on the calls for service, to better improve our performance for the public," Kazel said.