Five Massport workers were arrested today on charges they took bribes from cab drivers seeking to evade the airport's normal queue for passengers, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, State Police and Massport announced.
Officials say the five "cab starters" let cabbies who slipped them $20 to $40 jump ahead of other drivers - although they add some of the five accepted scratch tickets, cigarettes and other items instead of money:
The procedure for taxi cabs operating at the airport is regulated such that drivers are supposed to report to the Taxi Pool, obtain a pool ticket, place that ticket on their dashboard, and line up in rows until dispatched to a terminal cab stand, which is staffed by a Ground Transportation Unit agent. The wait time until dispatch is on average an hour to an hour and a half, but can be longer if fewer passengers need cabs on a given day.
Drivers who fail to report to the Taxi Pool and instead report directly to a cab stand are known as "jumpers." The Ground Transportation Unit agents, or "starters," who man the cab stands are supposed to issue violations to drivers who undertake this practice. The defendants, in contrast, allegedly took bribes from drivers in exchange for allowing them to skip the wait in the Taxi Pool.
Cabbies told investigators the bribes let them pump up their daily airport earnings from $350 to $600 by not having to wait in line. Also:
The "starters" would allegedly steer higher-priced fares, such as those heading beyond Route 128, to "jumpers" who bribed them more.
Charged: Kenneth Clement of Attleboro, Michael Garvey of Melrose, Vadim Mkrtychev of West Roxbury, James Mulrey of Canton and Donald Potts of Medford. More workers could be arrested, officials say, adding they were aided by cab drivers who agreed to wear recording devices during the investigation.