Elderly woman swindled by shady cabbie - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Elderly woman swindled by shady cabbie

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 by Isa Baza

Guam - One elderly woman was taken for a ride - a short one, mind you - from the hospital to her home in Maina. And it cost her close to $100. And the woman's family is speaking out in hopes it doesn't happen to anyone else.

On Sunday night an elderly woman from the central village accompanied her husband to the Guam Memorial Hospital in an ambulance. Early the next morning she needed to get home, but did not want to bother friends and family. Instead, she took a taxi. The elderly woman is a relative of Agana Heights mayor Paul McDonald, who said, "She asked the security guard at GMH to call the cab and GMH staff called the cab...he took her to Maina from Tamuning and was charging her $80 for the trip and it was 1:30 in the morning where there's no traffic, and I thought it was outrageous."

In fact, calls to different taxi companies found that the average cab ride from GMH to Maina should be much less.

Hafa Adai Taxi said, when asked about the fare for the route, "I think maybe that's about I think $25." A cabbie from Miki Taxi said the it would be around $20."

KUAM News decided to take a ride with the company in question, Wave Taxi. For a ride from GMH to Maina we were charged around that amount - $30.

According to Mayor McDonald however the elderly woman was charged nearly three times that amount, and did not have enough. "The cab driver insisted that she look in her purse for more money and the lady told him after searching in her purse that is it okay if she pays the rest to the security guard up at the up at the hospital," he shared.

McDonald says the cab driver then agreed, only as long as the woman promised to give the rest of the money to the GMH security guard. Mar Oasay, the owner of Wave Taxi, said that this is the first time he has ever received a complaint about someone being overcharged. He said he will reimburse the woman as well as look into the incident.

But what about the security guard?

"I called the supervisor of the Security Department at GMH and I informed the individual you know this is what happened," said the mayor.

GMH spokesperson June Perez said she takes these allegations seriously. An investigation was launched, which found that the security guard in question was not associated with the cab driver. GMH apologized to the family and eliminated the driver's number from its listing. 

Mayor McDonald also wrote to the Guam Visitors Bureau, thinking similar events may be happening to tourists, as GVB spokesperson Josh Tyquiengco told KUAM News, "From GVB's standpoint we're always concerned about visitor safety and satisfaction and if there are any complaints then we'll forward them to the appropriate agencies."

Mayor McDonald's relative was scared to speak out in public because she feared retaliation, however McDonald spoke on her behalf in hopes that greater attention to the issue might prevent future incidents from occurring.

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