Driven to the Edge

The Globe Spotlight Team spent nine months examining Boston's $1 billion taxi industry.

Part 1

Spotlight report | Part 1

For Boston cabbies, a losing battle against the numbers

A nine-month Globe investigation finds a taxi trade where fleet owners get rich, drivers are frequently fleeced, and the city does little about it.

Part 2

Tutunjian in the Kilmarnock Street garage office.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Edward Tutunjian in the Kilmarnock Street garage office.

Boston Cab has by far the biggest taxi fleet in the city.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Boston Cab has by far the biggest taxi fleet in the city.

The Kilmarnock Street garage houses the Boston Cab taxi fleet owned by Edward J. Tutunjian.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The Kilmarnock Street garage houses the Boston Cab taxi fleet owned by Edward J. Tutunjian.

Tutunjian (left) walked past drivers waiting at the window where keys are distributed.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Tutunjian (left) walked past drivers waiting at the window where keys are distributed.

Drivers waited to get keys to taxis.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Drivers waited to get keys to taxis.

Another look inside the Kilmarnock Street garage of Boston Cab.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Another look inside the Kilmarnock Street garage of Boston Cab.

Shift drivers must pay a fixed fee of about $100, due after every 12-hour shift. Also, many allege, they must pay bribes to simply get on the road.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Shift drivers must pay a fixed fee of about $100, due after every 12-hour shift. Also, many allege, they must pay bribes to simply get on the road.

The dispatch window at the Kilmarnock Street garage that houses the taxi fleet owned by Edward Tutunjian.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The dispatch window at the Kilmarnock Street garage that houses the taxi fleet owned by Edward Tutunjian.

Tutunjian, leaving a Boston court in October, after a trial in a personal injury case brought against his firm.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Tutunjian, leaving a Boston court in October, after a trial in a personal injury case brought against his firm.

Edward Tutunjian's home in Belmont is just one of many properties he owns.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Edward Tutunjian's home in Belmont is just one of many properties he owns.

An apartment building at 300 Marlborough Street in Boston is owned by Tutunjian.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

An apartment building at 300 Marlborough Street in Boston is owned by Tutunjian.

Tutunjian also owns this apartment building at 245 Commonwealth Avenue.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Tutunjian also owns this apartment building at 245 Commonwealth Avenue.

A two-story garage on Queensbury Street in Boston owned by Tutunjian.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

A two-story garage on Queensbury Street in Boston owned by Tutunjian.

Tutunjian owned a building that houses a Kilmarnock Street restaurant.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Tutunjian owned a building that houses a Kilmarnock Street restaurant.

Another commercial property on Kilmarnock Street in Boston is owned by Tutunjian.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Another commercial property on Kilmarnock Street in Boston is owned by Tutunjian.

A worker rested at a vineyard owned by Edward Tutunjian, about 120 miles south of Santiago, Chile.

Victor Ruiz Caballero for the Boston Globe

A worker rested at a vineyard owned by Edward Tutunjian, about 120 miles south of Santiago, Chile.

Tutunjian exports wine under labels including Apaltagua and Tutunjian Single Vineyard.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Tutunjian exports wine under labels including Apaltagua and Tutunjian Single Vineyard.

Spotlight report | Part 2

An empire built on ambition and a very hard line

Not just drivers are exploited by Boston’s cab trade. Passengers hurt in accidents often run into denial and evasion by poorly insured firms.

Taxi titan’s rise began with just one cab

Edward J. Tutunjian, a onetime cabbie who began buying taxi licenses 40 years ago, is the king of Boston’s taxi industry.

Response from Edward Tutunjian

Edward Tutunjian sent the following letter to The Boston Globe on Feb. 8, 2013, in response to inquiries by the Globe Spotlight Team.

Part 3

Video

Spotlight Report | Part 3

For cab drivers, risk and reward are a mismatch

A Globe reporter returns to the wheel after many years and finds much has changed. Cabbies are often cheated, and danger lurks at every turn.

Mayor Menino orders review of taxi oversight

The review comes a day after the Globe Spotlight Team documented a lopsided system of enforcement in Boston’s cab industry.

Who’s in the driver’s seat in Boston’s cabs?

Mayor Menino has nine months left in office. Cleaning up the taxi industry in the city would be a nice coda.