On the surface, it wouldn’t appear there’s any public benefit to the Nevada Taxicab Authority’s move this weekend to a new office at 2090 E. Flamingo Road.
But to Taxicab Authority Administrator Charles Harvey, the move that has been planned for three years represents an opportunity for greater efficiency and better customer service.
And that means the riding public will be better served.
The doors close Friday afternoon at the authority’s current office on the second floor of an office complex at 1785 E. Sahara Ave. They’ll open at the new location Monday morning after a weekend of transporting files and other office materials.
The new location is ideal for the agency that regulates Clark County’s 3,000 taxis and 9,500 drivers. The Flamingo Road location puts it just west of the center of the Strip where the regulatory police force of 29 officers patrols taxi stands at resorts around the clock.
The other primary location for enforcement is at McCarran International Airport, which is now about two miles closer with the move.
In 2013, 200,000 people were served at the authority office.
Those “customers” are primarily drivers who must pass a driving test specific to taxi rules and regulations and must be renewed annually. Drivers also are photographed and fingerprinted for the agency’s records.
Drivers who receive citations from Taxicab Authority officers must also come to the office to pay fines or appear in an administrative court if they choose to dispute the citation.
After getting budget approval, Harvey began searching for prospective locations and found the Flamingo location about a year ago.
“I started looking a few months after I was named administrator,” Harvey said. “I knew that if we could achieve a certain level of professionalism that it would go a long way toward better serving our customers.”
The makeover and new furnishings were completed and delivered earlier this year. Harvey did not have an exact cost of the refurbishment, saying the paperwork has already been boxed up to be moved to the new building.
“Getting this place was really lucky,” Harvey said. “I guess I’m living right. It’s much nicer and I think there will be a ripple effect from being in this environment to our customers and to the public.”
A big difference separates the driver reception area at the old building and the new location.
Harvey said the building, formerly occupied by Nevada Eye Care Optometry which is now in the same building on the first floor, was gutted and redesigned with a more efficient flow. Harvey chose calming neutral tones for furnishings that he believes will produce a soothing effect for customers and staff. Windows throughout the office provide an abundance of natural light.
Taking advantage of a larger area — 13,725 square feet at the new office compared with 10,244 square feet at the old — the new office provides a larger waiting area and segmented barriers between counter positions to assure privacy. There’s a larger work space for computer terminals to conduct driver testing and a training room with screens for video presentations that can be modified to provide additional seating for large groups of drivers.
An automated filing system will replace large banks of file drawers and a dark and damp break room at the old building will be replaced by a light and airy room more conducive to staff interaction.
The administrative areas will have cubicle work stations and investigators will have half-walls in their cubicles for better communication among officers.
Investigators will have their own locker rooms for personal equipment and a window near the police force’s office overlooks the two-story parking garage where the agency’s new patrol vehicles will be parked when not on the road. It’s all under video surveillance.
The five-member Taxicab Authority board, which meets monthly, will conduct sessions at a hearing room that is a part of the office complex but has a different address — 2080 E. Flamingo Road.
The board room is set up to hold 75 people — the current board room seats about 50 — and can be expanded to accommodate 120. The room has a speaker and amplification system to better record actions. Authority board meetings also have a separate entrance for security and a small prep room for their meetings.
The new building will come at a cost with a 50 percent increase in the lease rate per square foot that nearly doubles the monthly rent. The authority’s lease costs the agency $1.80 per square foot ($24,705) compared with $1.20 per square foot ($12,293) in the old building.
Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at email@example.com or 702-477-3893. Follow him on Twitter @RickVelotta.