Should taxis pay for taxi stands?

February 21st, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Katie Chapman at Dom Post reports:

Cabbies may have to pay to use taxi ranks as looks to save ratepayers’ money.

But warn that the cost would just end up being passed to passengers.

A proposal to charge taxis for using city stands is among ideas mooted by council officers for inclusion in the draft Annual Plan, which sets the city’s budget and rates take.

Councillors will debate the draft next month before the final version is sent out for public consultation.

I use taxis a fair bit, but despite that I think there is some merit to this idea. Central city space is at a premium. Those who use it for or for taxi stands should pay for the economic cost of that space. Basically it should be user-pays. I’m not sure ratepayers should subsidise taxi users.

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34 Responses to “Should taxis pay for taxi stands?”

  1. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    Yet one of the reasons quoted was that parking revenue was down. Do they not think that might have something to do with $4 an hour meter rates?

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  2. Manolo (13,747 comments) says:

    The council’s rapacity will hit the consumer (passengers) because the fares will go up.
    I blame the anti-car Luddite Celia Wade-Brown for the move. :-)

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  3. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    AIAL already charges cab drivers to use the taxi stands at Auckland Airport.

    I don’t have a problem with Wellington City doing something similar.

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  4. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    “But taxis warn that the cost would just end up being passed to passengers.”
    The exact reason this should be done. Why should every rate payer subsidise taxi users?

    In the same way, why do I subsidise peoples wages through WFF when it’s the employer, not the tax payer, that should be bearing the full cost of a persons employment. Sure it’ll put the employers prices up, just as with the taxis, but anything else is a distortion of the market.

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  5. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    gump:

    AIAL already charges cab drivers to use the taxi stands at Auckland Airport.

    You seem to forget that Auckland Airport (and Wellington Airport for that matter) is on private land and as such they can charge taxis for the use of space in the same manner that they can charge any other commercial operator doing business on their land.

    I think the suggestion here is for taxis in Wellington to be charged for using Council owned (ratepayer owned) land.

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  6. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    i agree with m@tt – WFF should be kicked into touch!

    not sure about the bit where m@tt thinks employers will jack their prices and pay more in wages. it will probably lead to job losses but all good.

    OR they offset it with a tax cut. lets do that.

    great idea matt!

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  7. Brian Harmer (687 comments) says:

    I wonder if the fall in revenue from parking, and indeed in much of inner city retail, is because many people prefer to shop in the outer suburbs where parking is free. “looks to save ratepayers’ money”? This looks like a scheme to relieve them of more of it, whether in the form of parking meteres, or costs passed on in taxi fares.

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  8. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    @dime
    Congratulations on getting it, it’s about time you socialists stopped demanding that the tax (or rate) payers prop up these barely sustainable businesses. They should pay their their own way in the world like the rest of us hard workers do.

    Unfortunately you’re only half way there. If the business simply sacks employees instead of making a decision to fund their business through sales revenue (crazy I know!) then either those workers will end up as a high cost to the tax-payer on the dole or simply just start stealing your shit to survive.

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  9. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    matt – we can build really big jails :) looters can be shot. its all good.

    what exactly is an inefficient business in your warped mind?

    heres a quick scenario:

    A dude retires from the navy. He has a payout of $250k. He would love to be his own boss.

    He buys a lunch bar. it costs him his 250k but he thinks if he and his wife can run it with one worker, he can make 100k a year.

    He can afford to pay his worker $15 an hour (above the minimum wage).

    The worker has 3 kids and is struggling.

    What is the solution in M@tts world?

    The guy should up the workers pay? and drop his to 80k? (he also has 2 kids and an auckland mortgage).

    if he drops to 80k, he will be earning 40k, as will his wife. the “worker” will earn 40k too. The only difference being his 250k of capital. he gets nothing for that.

    or does he sell the business and go work for an evil boss?

    the lunch bar is in an industrial estate. there is a lot of competition. if he puts his prices up then he will lose sales. he could start using horse meat in his pies?

    so what sthe answer m@tt?

    also, as a caring lefty – why dont you care about this guy who was just trying to get through life and raise his kids?!

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  10. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    wow m@tts barking up all sorts of bullshit today.

    1, the assumption that employers take into account WFF when setting wages. what nonsense. if i pay all my cleaners $15 an hour, how am i supposed to know what WFF they might get? cleaner 1 has no kids, cleaner 2 has a newborn and a 17 year old, cleaner 3 has custody of someone elses kid, cleaner 4 has shared custody, cleaner 5 has a partner who puts them over the threshold.

    what utter and total stupidity (though thats hardly a surprise).

    its actually employees turning down opportunities to earn more or get promoted so they dont lose their WFF. so WFF has in effect reduce opportunities for employees.

    M@tt also makes the assumption that people just decide to start stealing, that they are ‘forced’ to. bullshit, its a choice.

    back to the actual topic. if council is setting aside areas for taxis then it might make sense to charge them for it, however:

    1. will this impact on the number available, reducing the appeal of tourism to wellington as you can never get a damn cab?
    2. will this just end up with one company with a monopoly and the rest get shut out? therefore reducing competition and raising prices.
    3. Does anyone have confidence that the council could actually do this and not cock it up?
    4. will i as a ratepayer see my rates go down, or even not go up by as much? or will they trouser the cash, and raise my rates and parking meter fees just for fun.

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  11. 2boyz (262 comments) says:

    Lets see the current lot want to get people out of cars and into public transport and i guess keep as many cars out of the CBD as possible to make it a pedestrian utopia . Overly proactive parking wardens and increased parking charges have met the result the council were after, now they are bleating about lost revenue….time to call it quits Andy.

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  12. wreck1080 (3,905 comments) says:

    Absolutely.

    This will more truly reflect the cost of using taxis.

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  13. alwyn (424 comments) says:

    2boyz @ 3.00pm
    I fear that you are being a bit optimistic.
    The mayor and all the councillors each have a reserved carpark in the Council office basement carpark.
    It is available to them 24 hours/day and it is free.
    The main reason they would have for keeping other cars out of the city would be to prevent them being held up as they rush from some important (?) engagement to another.
    Oh for the days when there were people like Roland O’Regan or the Norwooods (father and son) on the council who were contributing, rather than taking from, the city.

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  14. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    but but people will drink drive more if taxi rates go up by 1 cent a km…

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  15. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    If parking revenue is down then surely the council should reduce parking charges in the affacted areas to optimise income Molesworth Street, etc come to mind.

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  16. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    No, it’s part of the public transport network.

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  17. MT_Tinman (3,184 comments) says:

    No taxis in the city. Now there’s a good idea.

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  18. rangitoto (247 comments) says:

    So why aren’t they charging buses for use of bus stops?

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  19. tedbear (145 comments) says:

    “Wellington City Council looks to save ratepayers’ money”
    Yea, right, do this and ratepayers will pay less?

    What a joke, since when did any council look to save ratepayers’ money?
    Up here in Kapiti, the council are building a swanky new pool and installing water meters, neither of these projects wanted by the ratepayers. The council already have almost $200 million debt, but what the hell, don’t worry about paying that off first, just add more.
    If they’re serious about saving ratepayers’ money, get rid of the many waste of space managers/executives and departments and get back to council basics – providing water, roading and sewerage disposal to property owners.

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  20. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    If they’re serious about saving ratepayers’ money, get rid of the many waste of space managers/executives and departments and get back to council basics – providing water, roading and sewerage disposal to property owners.

    Why should councils provide water?
    Or for that matter boat ramps, sports grounds,walking groups, worm farm trainers, building certifiers or a thousand other things that others could do more effectivley with the right legislation. After all we don’t expect a council to front up as a registered bank (although they think they are sometimes), nor as owners of knock shops, car wreckers or a billion other things.

    Roads yes, sewerage yes but chargeable, and really that’s about it. the rest is just an empire for socialists to play in.

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  21. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    tedbear – Would Kapiti residents want a stiff increase in rates to pay for new water headworks and reticulation? This would be accompanied by continuing nagging complaints about those who use lots of water and demands for the council to ‘do something about it’. Some noisy residents (probably above average water users) may not want water meters, but the Council is between a rock and a hard place on this. Remember that Auckland, Sydney and many other places have had water meters for many decades.

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  22. marcw (247 comments) says:

    @ rangitoto: “So why aren’t they charging buses for use of bus stops?”

    Exactly – what’s the difference. And wherever rail services infringe on public land.

    And Grendal is right, they will just trouser the income and employ more spin doctors to tell us how great they are as they increase rates and think up even more grandiose schemes to spend OP money.

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  23. tedbear (145 comments) says:

    In actual fact, all roading used to be done by the Ministry of Works.

    I have a rather clever friend who has worked in many countries and has now decided to live in Texas. Previously, he had built his own home in Waikanae near the sea. According to the Council Building Compliance Experts, he had to have massively long piles together with all the other permits to do this and that.
    My clever friend is again building another 4 bedroom house, this time with a 6 bay barn for tractor and other toys.
    Wowee, but life is great in Texas – zero permits required.

    As for water meters, just because other places have them doesn’t make it a good idea here.
    Some years ago, the Kapiti Council promised a dam and what a damn good idea that is, instead of watching all the rain water going to waste out to sea. The Council said water meters would save water. What a joke! Let a huge amount run out to sea and that’s saving water.
    And if I decide to collect and save rain water from the roof, will I get a rebate?
    Fat chance.

    Like anything else, of course it would have cost a bit, but then again so does a super duper swimming pool, a brand new Council Headquarters, a brand new Council Library – 3 absolutely unnecessary luxuries.

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  24. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    We should charge mayors and councillors rent for using rate payer owned offices.

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  25. Johnboy (16,516 comments) says:

    Would any of the taxi drivers understand enough English to know where to pay their fees? :)

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  26. swan (665 comments) says:

    :”Roads yes, sewerage yes but chargeable, and really that’s about it. the rest is just an empire for socialists to play in.”

    Surely you would have them charge for the roads too, Viking2? Or are you a socialist when it comes to roads?

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  27. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    This proposal is exactly as it should be. If businesses want to be in the taxi game, they should carry the costs of that. It is not for the ratepayers to provide them with temporary parking spots.

    Sure the costs will be passed on to the consumers, but those consumers have other choices and if the cost of a taxi is too high, we will see more choose buses (or even walk for intra-CBD travel.)

    It is not right for me to expect my fellow ratepayers to pay for the coffee beans, or even the coffee machine, so that I can enjoy the fine coffee here in our fair city, so why on earth would we pay for the temporary hitching of their (sometimes) chariots?

    As m@tt pointed out, this is highly distortionary.

    So, likewise, we can expect to see the ratepayer subsidy for rail and buses removed forthwith…

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  28. Johnboy (16,516 comments) says:

    I hope cyclist road-user charges are set at a high enough level to pay for all that paint and the chaps who make the pretty little bicycle stencil thingys! :)

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  29. tedbear (145 comments) says:

    “So, likewise, we can expect to see the ratepayer subsidy for rail and buses removed forthwith…”

    And backdated subsidies refunds for the private enterprise stadium.

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  30. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Pedestrians take up valuable space with all their walking. Will the council charge them a fee?

    Perhaps users of rubbish bins in public place should pay?

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  31. tedbear (145 comments) says:

    “I hope cyclist road-user charges are set at a high enough level……..”

    All aircraft must be registered annually and pilots must have a license so it follows that the same rules apply for all road users including cyclists, plus the same rules for all sea going craft and operators.

    Oh just think of all the extra revenue plus lots of jobs for number plate makers.

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  32. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    And backdated subsidies refunds for the private enterprise stadium.

    I fear that would send them broke, which would just see us taxed of our refunds. Not paying them saves on administration costs.

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  33. Flyingkiwi9 (54 comments) says:

    Taxiis in Wellington are so ridiculously overpriced, I’m sure they’ll be fine.

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  34. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    So we add a surcharge for using a cab rank… to go with the surcharge on payment by credit cards (yesterday paid an extra $3 something on a $40 fare for using a credit card??), the surcharge on booking a cab over the phone… honestly?

    The alternative is for cabs to cruise slowly through the CBD waiting for people to flag them down, use pay & display carparks until they see a parking warden coming down the street, double park in the middle of our narrow central city corridors for pickups & dropoffs.

    I think Celia should make a city bylaw to eliminate all the hills in Wellington. That way we could all bike into work & back without needing a shower & a change at the other end.

    The real problem is that we have too many taxis for meet the waning demand in Wellington. Have you seen the queue of empty cabs at the airport recently? At least 60 waiting twiddling their thumbs waiting to get into the queue for the cab rank.

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