Wellington Taxis

July 20th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Taxi price wars are erupting in as small companies try to stay afloat after being shunted out of the lucrative airport trade.

Two companies have cut their prices in the past two weeks and more are promising to follow suit.

The companies are angry about a Wellington Airport decision to allocate a priority taxi spot to market leader Wellington Combined, relegating competitors to an outer lane where business is scarce.

“This is a retaliation,” Kiwi Cabs spokesman Logan Pithyou said. “We’re fighting back by lowering our prices. If this doesn’t work out, the company will go bust and many other small companies will too.”

I always use Wellington Combined, unless I am in town and can’t find one. The reasons I do are:

  1. Quality of cars is good
  2. Drivers speak English and know where common locations are
  3. They use an electronic payment system, so easy to pay with taxicard
  4. They turn up fairly quickly when called

I will use Corporate Cabs also, but avoid almost all other firms.

Having said that, I can be price sensitive like most people. I would like to know how much I could save if I used another firm.

It would be a great public service if someone created a page showing all the firms in a city, and their tariffs. Ideally an average rating from users also – but just a price comparison would be really good.

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31 Responses to “Wellington Taxis”

  1. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    Don’t know much about taxis in Wellington, but here in Auckland the “approved” taxi companies charge around $75 to the city centre. Meanwhile, the cab company I use charges $40, but you have to do a cloak-and-dagger pick-up by the car park pay station. It’s ludicrous. And whatever happened to the sacred tenet of competition?

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  2. MIKMS (163 comments) says:

    I think it’s silly of the airport frankly and of wellington combined if they find domestic travellers bypassing their cab rank for the cheaper one

    I actually wonder a little why they don’t let corporate cabs have a spot a bit closer…the cars are at least aesthetically pleasing

    last time I cabbed in aucky…98 bucks to the waterfront and that was with a cheap taxi firm

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  3. sbw (44 comments) says:

    DPF, use GreenCabs – they are the cheapest in town. They are $10 less from my flat in Highbury to the Airport than Wellington Combined from my last experience comparing the two. Power of the market!

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  4. shoreboy57 (116 comments) says:

    sbw is right. Green Cabs provide great service at a cheaper rate. I always use them now to and from Wgtn airport. Check them out

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  5. max (31 comments) says:

    Agreed, Green Cabs all the way.

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  6. RRM (8,987 comments) says:

    I generally only use Wellington Combined, unless there’s a Green Cab on the rank in which case I’ll take that. IMO those two firms stand out from the rest in just having a more professional vibe to their cars and drivers, and I know off the top of my head that they take eftpos.

    However, I note that when I arrived on the late ferry on a miserable Tuesday night earlier in the month, neither Combined nor Green were in attendance at the ferry terminal, so one of the lesser firms got my business, I forget which one.

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  7. RRM (8,987 comments) says:

    PS – not a fan of Wellington Combined’s phone booking robot though.

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  8. MT_Tinman (2,790 comments) says:

    Even Green cab drivers recommend cheaper cab companies.

    Don’t go near them.

    Because of a company tie up I normally use Wellington Combined when in the capital but on my last visit I had so many fucking awful drivers in their cabs I started to use Corporate – far, far better.

    When in Christchurch Blue Star (particularly cab 276) is the only team to call. :-)

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  9. mjwilknz (606 comments) says:

    I am another Green Cabs fan. I am agnostic on environmental issues, but I find their drivers much more interesting to chat than other companies’ drivers!

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  10. davidp (3,319 comments) says:

    The number 91 bus from Welly CBD to airport runs every 15 minutes or so and costs $8. Even if my employer is paying I’d feel bad taking a taxi… I’d feel like Chris Carter expecting my employer to pay for my partner’s meals.

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  11. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    I’m a big fan of Green Cabs, to such a degree that I have a regular driver I use whenever I travel to different cities. They are a great company with good people. Leastways, the ones I have encountered. Their fares are reasonable as well.

    Can’t say I’d ever touch Combined now. This uncompetitive, monolopy type of business has no place in the market place.

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  12. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    Why do they need to charge a ‘flag-fall’ anyway?

    I remember interviewing a retiring taxi-driver in 1988-89 about the proposed ‘reforms’ that were supposed to ‘free up’ and bring competition into the taxi industry. He said then that it wouldn’t happen because the expenses of the business were too much. It would seem so still.

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  13. peterwn (2,932 comments) says:

    Tried a minor Wellington firm several years ago. Someone else took my call while dispatcher had gone for a pee. Nothing was dispatched. This was on top of a scenic flight I took to and From Auckland earlier as Auckland airport was fogged up. Now use Combined in Wellington or Co-op in Auckland, although I now mostly use the Flyer and Airbus.

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  14. Rex Widerstrom (5,124 comments) says:

    Yeah, go ahead and bugger up the taxi industry, put the smaller competitors out of business through unfair preferencing, then watch the one remaining conglomerate get sold to the Singaporeans, who’ll make you pay through the nose while laughing at your lax consumer protection and competition laws. Works for the Aussies.

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  15. big bruv (12,319 comments) says:

    “I’m a big fan of Green Cabs”

    I am a huge fan of walking past every bloody “Green cab” that I see on a taxi rank.

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  16. MT_Tinman (2,790 comments) says:

    # TripeWryter (290) Says:
    July 20th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Why do they need to charge a ‘flag-fall’ anyway?

    I remember interviewing a retiring taxi-driver in 1988-89 about the proposed ‘reforms’ that were supposed to ‘free up’ and bring competition into the taxi industry. He said then that it wouldn’t happen because the expenses of the business were too much. It would seem so still.

    The expenses aren’t too bad.

    Mine run out at about $550. per week ($90. per day)

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  17. plum (38 comments) says:

    DPF, there’s a table showing the tariffs, flagfall and average cost to the airport from Wellington CBD for all the companies in the hard copy version of the article in the DomPost.

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  18. somewhatthoughtful (436 comments) says:

    competition would be nice if there was an actual effort by these companies to compete on price. all they do is follow combined. at least in auckland cheap cabs are cheap.

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  19. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    big bruv:

    I am a huge fan of walking past every bloody “Green cab” that I see on a taxi rank.

    Why?

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  20. cabbage (454 comments) says:

    I only use taxi’s when i’m pissed – and i’ll give my custom to which ever one agrees to take me to my home (a $170 cab fare) for $100.

    Usually its the first cab on the rank, but on the odd occasion i have to ask another.

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  21. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Why?

    I can see the large chip on bruv’s shoulder from Auckland! :-D

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  22. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    Why use any taxi? I live in Porirua and am going on a 6 day trip out of town. It is cheaper ($56) to park my car in the Long Term carpark than to take a taxi (circa $90 EACH WAY). Even the premium parking would be cheaper than that

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  23. GPT1 (2,042 comments) says:

    Christchurch has three “reputable” cab companies. Bluestar, Gold Band and First Direct. Avoid the rest like the plague. Everywhere is via the Port Hills. First Direct is the cheapest 377 55 55 so always use them when i can. Otherwise on of the other two are safe. Corporate also fine and not sure about Green Cabs as they are more expensive.

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  24. big bruv (12,319 comments) says:

    Pascal

    Why would I walk past a Green cab?

    Why not?, they are trading on a lie, they are using the climate change con to try and convince us that their shitty little Prius is a ‘clean and green’ vehicle when the reality is that it is nothing of the sort.

    Also, I am stuffed if I am ever going to sit on a seat that may have been once occupied by Mad Delahunty, Wussel Norman, or the ever expanding female co leader of the Greens.

    Give me the good old fashioned petrol cab thanks.

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  25. sbw (44 comments) says:

    Rex Widerstrom, you miss the point. Green Cabs is the cheapest. By having a comparison watchlist, it will enable the other firms to be competitive with Green Cabs. Eventually, the market will reach equilibrium for taxi fares. However, should Green Cabs (per se) get a monopoly, as the taxi industry has relatively low-medium barriers of entry (purchase of taxi cars, employee skills training, adequate safety procedures), a competitor will enter the market again and compete with Green Cabs on new, innovative technology, market differentiation and price.

    Plus, Green Cabs is not a SOE (thank fucking god), so it could be owned by anyone.

    Ka Pai Rex, Ka Pai.

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  26. GJM (53 comments) says:

    In AUckland, I tend to use Coop or ccorporate. Interestingly enough, when I have used one of the various “dodgy cabs” – easily spotted by being the old family jap import with a driver who only bears a passing resemblence to the ID card – the price is often higher than the better companies. The exception is an airport trip whenyou pay ca$h… and ask for the special rate ahead of time.

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  27. cla (18 comments) says:

    As a young, female in Wellington I usually cab home from town late at night – the cost is worth the safety of being home quickly. Personally, I only ever take Wellington Combined, as they have the best reputation. A few years ago there were a number of violent incidents in smaller cabs involving women travelling alone; I would rather pay $10 and get home safely and quickly, than pay $7 and take a risk.

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  28. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    big bruv:

    Why not?, they are trading on a lie, they are using the climate change con to try and convince us that their shitty little Prius is a ‘clean and green’ vehicle when the reality is that it is nothing of the sort.

    How so? Are you referring to the batteries?

    big bruv:

    Also, I am stuffed if I am ever going to sit on a seat that may have been once occupied by Mad Delahunty, Wussel Norman, or the ever expanding female co leader of the Greens.

    So you don’t eat your greens either, do you?

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  29. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (759 comments) says:

    I use Kiwi Cabs. They were already much cheaper, their drivers speak english, they are friendly, they will do the lifting of your bags even if you say “no no ive got it”.
    Good enough for me

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  30. francis (712 comments) says:

    Locally, Kiwi Cabs does seem to run a bit cheaper. Don’t know about the airport fare.

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  31. wikiriwhis business (3,269 comments) says:

    I’m thinking more than taxi companies will go bust after the piratical ETS claws in properly.

    Hope more All Blacks speak out

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