New Orleans city officials don't want to see Super Bowl price gouging

New Orleans, La.- The New Orleans Taxicab Bureau doesn't want to hear about any taxicabs or pedicabs over-charging visitors during Super Bowl.

For many people, price gouging during a big event is nothing new.

"The Gray Cup and stuff, they up their prices for everything. It's just expected," says Jessica Pragnell, visiting from Canada.

With thousands of people descending upon New Orleans for the Super Bowl, city officials say they will watch to make sure taxicabs and pedicabs don't over-charge for rides.

"It's something that we always hear in the back of our head and something that we heard happened in Indianapolis last year so it's something that we're on guard for this year," says Malachi Hull, Director of the Taxicab Bureau.

Hull says every cab must run its meter to determine the price of a fare. The meter rule is just one requirement in a series of reforms for the taxicab industry that went into effect January 1st. Security cameras now in each vehicle will be able to show if the meter is activated for a ride, and an online database will help keep track of fares.

"So we can go in and actually see where a trip originated from and where it stopped and we can calculate what that fare should've been," Hull explained.

But the 45 pedicabs operated in the city don't have meters. Instead, drivers are told to charge up to $5 for the first six blocks of a ride. Then, it's $1 for every block after that. Hull says he's confident drivers will charge what they're supposed to, even during Super Bowl.

But some pedicab drivers FOX 8 spoke to, who didn't want to be identified, say they're sure price gouging will take place. In fact they say some of the pedicab companies operating right now in the city are notorious for charging more than they're allowed to.

Hull admits the bureau has received some complaints about the pedicabs but says they'll be monitored during the Super Bowl.

But many people FOX 8 spoke to say they wouldn't be surprised if tourists are over-charged at some point during their Super Bowl experience.

"I think it would be hard to monitor. There's just too many cabs, you know restaurants, prices could go up, you know not just transportation but lodging as well," said Jane Gross of North Dakota said.

"Everybody does it. You have to expect it. If you don't you're going to be very disappointed,"added Mike Pragnell.

Malachi Hull says if anyone thinks they're being over-charged by either a taxicab or pedicab, they need to call the Taxicab Bureau complaint line at 504-658-7176.