ABC7 News has learned that limousines without valid permits are listed on Oakland International Airport's website. In other words, these are limos which are operating illegally without state approval, but with the perceived approval of the airport. This is a story you'll only see on ABC7 News.
On Oakland Airport's website you'll see a link to taxis, shuttles, and limos and their phone numbers so you can book a ride to and from the airport. Those illegally operating limos are listed on that airport link.
TransportationReviews.com, a watchdog group on limo safety, alerted us to this problem. And we contacted the California Public Utilities Commission and verified the number and names of those companies.
Vic Lee: "What if I were to tell you that 13 percent of all the limos here have no permits?"
Rose Cripps: "Oh my goodness! That's not right."
Airport traveler Cripps is correct -- it's not right. But what we told her is true.
Thirteen percent of limousine services listed on the Oakland International Airport website have no valid operating permits. Ten of the 80 companies have had their permits revoked, suspended, or denied by the state PUC, the agency that regulates limousines.
Coincidentally, just Thursday, a multi-agency strike force led by the CHP launched a surprise sting here. They targeted limousines, vans, and buses. Port of Oakland inspectors found 29 vehicles were operating with no airport permits.
On the airport website, two limo firms had their permits yanked by the PUC as far back as three years ago.
What's more, the names of more than half of the limo firms listed on the web don't even match the names on the PUC permit registry. They're either abbreviated, misspelled or missing words.
We called most of the delinquent companies. None agreed to talk on camera. Many said they were no longer in business.
The person who answered for World Class Limousine Svc. admitted he was behind on his taxes.
Airport officials declined our request for an interview Friday.
But airport travelers we spoke with were surprised when we showed them what we discovered.
"Because they are on the airport's website, so that would kinda indicates to you that they're reputable companies," airport traveler Alisa Zendejas said. "That they suggest you use those companies."
"I would assume that they would have been approved by the airport," airport traveler Jenna said. "I would think they would be up to standards."
As we said, the airport declined our request for an interview. But late Friday, they did send us a written response which reads, "The airport is currently in the process of reviewing and verifying the permitting for all ground transportation services at the airport. We will take all appropriate actions for any non-compliant ground transport service."