Auckland cab fares

May 3rd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Catching a cab downtown from Auckland Airport has been labelled one of the most expensive taxi fares in the world by an international travel company.

According to a CheapFlights comparison of prices in 24 cities, New Zealand has the third most expensive per-kilometre taxi fares.

And a Herald investigation has found some Auckland taxi companies quoting price tags up to $86 for a trip — more than the price of some domestic flights — that other companies can deliver for just $35.

The report, released last month but based on data from March 2013, found the average price of travelling the 21.4km route from Auckland Airport to the city’s CBD was $77.41 — or $3.50/km.

The New Zealand price was surpassed only by fares in Berlin that were $4.06/km, and San Jose in Costa Rica that were $3.59/km.

Auckland cabs were 10 times more expensive than in the cheapest city, Buenos Aires, and twice the $1.75/km people using Australian were paying.

I often reflect that the taxi fares cost more than the flight.

Part of the problem is that the road network into the CBD is so sub-standard with significant traffic delays. One the current motorway projects are completed, the time and hence the cost should be reduced significantly.

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47 Responses to “Auckland cab fares”

  1. thePeoplesFlag (245 comments) says:

    Dream on. Until there is rail to the airport, the road option only monopoly will see the taxis stay expensive. And since the airport monopoly on parking is so profitable, they are putting every obstacle possible in the way of a viable rail route –

    http://transportblog.co.nz/?s=airport&submit.x=0&submit.y=0

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  2. altiora (279 comments) says:

    Could someone please look into the cost to get to Hamilton airport. Twice I have paid close to $80 going from the inner east side to airport one way. For the same price, I can catch a shuttle to Auckland airport from Hamilton (ie 1 1/2 hour drive).

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  3. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    There is a mistake in this article. The article says that fares in Australia are $1.75 which is untrue.

    I can’t speak for other states (I know they are similar), but Queensland taxis are regulated at $A2.14/km plus flagfall (varies by time of day) and booking fee ($1.50). It costs about $33 to go 10 km from my house to the casino at Broadbeach, which is about $3.30/km.

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  4. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Peoples flag – there are bus services that don’t cost much. But then you’d have to slum it with backpackers.

    altiora – it costs under $20 to get to Auckland airport from Hamilton on Naked Bus. Presumably there are buses to Hamilton airport too, but I have never had occasion to use one.

    I can comment that the public transport to Wellington airport is pretty good but it’s quite pricey. I don’t understand how it can cost $8 to go across town then another $13 or so to get to Paraparaumu when it costs less than $20 to get from Otaki to Napier on Naked Bus.

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  5. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    It’s just a reflection of the very strong NZ Dollar.

    Right now the country is staggeringly expensive in international terms.

    Flip side of this is that it’s never been cheaper to travel

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  6. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    It’s only cheaper than really cheap discounted airfares that are that way because you’re sharing the aircraft with a lot of others paying more. Get 4 people in the Taxi and the cost per person is a lot lower, so Apples with Apples please.

    Also, the only way a train would be “cheaper” would be if it is massively subsidised by the rate and taxpayer, first for the huge cost to put the line in past Onehunga, to improve the line to Onehunga, and to the. Actually operate it. The actual cost of a train ride to the airport would be in the vicinity of $200 per person or more if all of the costs were included, and it’s only in the deluded minds of public transport fanboys that a hugely subsidised system is actually “cheaper”.

    You don’t have to take a taxi, you can drive and park, take a shared shuttle, or a bus; all of which can be cheaper. However the fees demanded by AIAL are not insignificant and they make a very good return on those and parking charges.

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  7. Kea (12,803 comments) says:

    At busy times its generally around $100.00 ! Luckily I am not paying for it when I go there for work.

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  8. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    The elephant in the room here is that so many using the thieving bastards have zero personal cost to be born.
    If those using taxis were paying from their own pocket even the $35 would come under pressure from the market.

    I was traveling daily from Sydney CBD to The old showgrounds in Paddington, no problem for a week then on a return trip to the apartment a wop took the scenic route and charged over double the fare so I got out the fare we had been paying told swmbo to get out and gave him what had been acceptable for the previous week and left him suggesting my parents had been unmarried, suddenly English became a first language.

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  9. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    Depends what you want.

    If you want a cheap trip, you fly budget / stay at backpackers / get a bus or a shuttle to the airport. But don’t complain if the driver can’t speak English, you get crap over your clothes from sitting on a dirty seat, the bed was crap and you’re reunited with your luggage a day later. In Auckland, travellers can take an airport shuttle or a bus – both services operate between the Auckland CBD and the airport.

    FWIW, we all use Corporate – they’re on time when collecting at the door / they’re at arrivals when inbound / their cabs are modern, neat and tidy and their drivers are professional. Which means we have no worries about leaving our cars at the airport and then having to drive home after a flight. Depends on the time of day, but the cost from the Eastern Suburbs to the airport is around $75 – but hassle free. For us, it’s a no-brainer.

    But whatever spins your wheels, I guess.

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  10. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (888 comments) says:

    “One the current motorway projects are completed, the time and hence the cost should be reduced significantly.” – oh yeah, pigs will fly, Rajen Prasad will be Labour leader and Cunliffe never lies.

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  11. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    The taxi fares are expensive because AIAL charges a substantial fee to taxi drivers for each trip that originates from the airport.

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  12. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    Not sure why I’m being downvoted.

    If you look at the fare cards, there’s a $7 fee for catching a taxi from the airport and a $3 flagfall. So you’ve already been stung $10 before the trip even begins.

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  13. MT_Tinman (3,184 comments) says:

    The poor bastards working taxis out of Auckland (and damned near every other airport in NZ) are hit with ridiculous charges by the airport company (can be in excess of $10,000 per year) and are then handicapped by a very small population, very large percentage of self drivers and non-existant traffic management.

    Those of us in smaller centres, particularly earthquake hit Paradise, compete against traffic mismanagement on a daily basis.

    Personally I think fares are far too low.

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  14. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    The real story is that other cabs cost a third of the price.

    It’s a Herald story – they must have sought out cabs owned by National Party members. Surprised they didn’t mention it.

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  15. wikiriwhis business (3,996 comments) says:

    Dream on. Until there is rail to the airport, the road option only monopoly will see the taxis stay expensive

    The govt is against rail because their masters from the fuel companies exact no profit from trains

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  16. mara (784 comments) says:

    Show me a rich cabbie who got rich driving cabs. Most of them are just breaking even.

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  17. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Go to Vancouver and take the rapid rail from the airport into town. Who needs expensive cabs?

    If dopey Pants Down LB can get off his $2BN inner city loop trip and fast track … the City-Airport loop then Hooray.

    Fat chance … with that! arrogant disgraceful prick … still despoiling the Mayoral upholstery and cruising the Ngati Whatua room.

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  18. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    Read your comment again whiskery, it is so much freakin garbage, so what changes..
    Roads do not create a monopoly they are used by Cabs, Buses, shuttles, private cars, bycycles, pedestrians and even horses.
    Rail will require further subsidy from people who do not even go near the freakin airport.
    Most surprising of all trains use fuel and although have a capacity to carry large numbers will turn out very expensive because their trip start location will have little relevance to where most potential users actually want to get on.

    Cripes look at the massive subsidies for Wellington Rail where much of their potential clientele live along valley floors and surrounding slopes with little lateral width and elongated length of settlements. yet ratepayers throughout the Wairarapa with little need or opportunity to use the service are paying to subsidise that “service”!!!

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  19. rightmakesright (12 comments) says:

    We have found it cheaper to hire a car overnight… When on an early flight out of Auckland

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  20. Paulus (2,626 comments) says:

    But can you better this.
    Easter my Granddaughter, an Akld Uni student went home to Wellington day bus trip for $1 – yes, one dollar on line booking.
    So buses are the answer.
    We stay over at a good Hotel in Auckland, with transfer 24 hours for early flight – say, first out to Sydney. It is only $20 more than a cab – and breakfast included. There are many good quality new cheaper hotels near the Airport.

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  21. duggledog (1,555 comments) says:

    ‘One the current motorway projects are completed, the time and hence the cost should be reduced significantly’

    Not while successive governments continue to tax the arse out of anyone remotely productive to sustain the unchanged bloated welfare state, and not while the motorway improvements that will be lucky to keep up with the huge increase in Auckland residents coming… that are needed to pay for the unchanged bloated welfare state… and so on…

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  22. duggledog (1,555 comments) says:

    Why they don’t convert Whenuapai Airforce base into a secondary airport is beyond me. It’s going to have to happen at some stage.

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  23. duggledog (1,555 comments) says:

    Eighty bucks to get from Dunedin Air Port into the City.

    Mind you, they stuck the Dunedin Air Port in Invercargill… or may as well have…

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  24. greybeard (61 comments) says:

    Duggledog, that is nonsense.
    A shuttle from Dunedin Airport to North-East Valley cost me $28.00
    The airport is only 15 mins easy drive from the city with bugger-all traffic at any time of the day.

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  25. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    Has anyone considered the cab charge component that the Airport screws out of it’s monopoly? And you can bet your bottom dollar that a rail connection would be gouged major time.

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  26. lolitasbrother (686 comments) says:

    Ugliest and most illogical Airport in the world, Christchurch, charges the cabbies about $10 to get in.
    We tried to find the architect to shoot him, but he left the city.

    Airport to my home 10.8 km, 15 minutes, according to Google.
    It used to be $45 for me, but last time $54, in the middle of a quiet day
    Thats $5 a kilometre, beat that.
    The resistance is high, friends help, and backpacker vans .

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  27. Shazzadude (529 comments) says:

    As exhorbitant as taxis are from Auckland airport, I don’t think it’s comparing apples with apples. Is that $1.75 from Sydney Airport into the CBD, for e.g.?

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  28. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    The Airtrain in Brisbane is privately funded and privately run. It does have the advantage of being only a short distance from Eagle Junction and connections to the (heavily subsidised) suburban network. And you don’t have to get off the train if you’re going to or from the Gold Coast.

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  29. Tautaioleua (304 comments) says:

    The fact remains: there are more cabs per capita here than anywhere else in the world.

    If we reduced the number of cabs, cab drivers would be making more, and would bring the charges down as a result. As it stands, there are too many players in the field. They carry the cost of waiting in line over to the customers.

    Fewer cabs, fewer charges. Everybody wins.

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  30. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    @duggledog

    “Why they don’t convert Whenuapai Airforce base into a secondary airport is beyond me. It’s going to have to happen at some stage.”

    ————————-

    Waitakere City backed the conversion of Whenuapai into a commercial airport and went as far as making district plan changes for the land occupied by the airforce base. But in 2009 the Cabinet voted against the proposal to convert it into a secondary airport.

    I think it’s highly unlikely to ever go commercial. There’s too much opposition from neighbouring residents and AIAL has an interest in keeping their natural monopoly in Mangere.

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  31. duggledog (1,555 comments) says:

    Cheers Gump

    You’re quite right about the shuttle Greybeard but unless you’ve booked it or there’s a seat free you’re still in for $80 bucks one way from the airport to central Dunedin. I paid that only a few months ago and it was with the main Dunedin cab service.

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  32. freedom101 (504 comments) says:

    Uber is a new disruptive business model which is attacking this space in the USA. We should get Uber going here. See https://www.uber.com.

    Quote “Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From our founding in 2009 to our launches in over 70 cities today, Uber’s rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer.”

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  33. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    The NSW government is threatening Uber drivers with $100k fines.

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  34. freedom101 (504 comments) says:

    Gazzmaniac – Australia is well known for anti-competitive behaviour and unionism is rife. I am not the slightest bit surprised that vested interests there want to stop Uber in its tracks. At the end of the day this pattern of behaviour costs the country dearly.

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  35. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    There is no real need for rail to the airport. There is a good bus service to Papatoetoe, Onehunga and Manakau train stations.Few stops, frequent and quite empty

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  36. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    @Tautaioleua: I’ve never heard before of a situation where reducing competition reduces prices. I think you’re dreaming. Taxi regulation generally increases prices. Even worse, most forms of taxi regulation (think medallions a la NYC or Sydney) ends up with a small number of taxi _owners_ holding a rapidly appreciating asset, and then leasing that medallion out to immigrant drivers who still get screwed. It’s a spectacularly bad system that we should not emulate.

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  37. UrbanNeocolonialist (288 comments) says:

    Much of cost arises from monopolistic practices from airports. They have been working hard to make it more and more difficult, time consuming and expensive to get vehicle access to airports; unjustifiably expensive parking charges (and high minimums), smaller/more restrictive drop off zones. Higher taxi charges.

    Seems like a very sensible area for government or commerce commission intervention against what are natural monopolies. Their ability to extort money from travellers must be regulated as otherwise they can ramp up prices as much as they like.

    Airports are playing a long game of incremental increases – hugely above the rate of inflation – that they hope won’t raise sufficient public ire at any point to bring on the needed political intervention and regulation – they are boiling frogs (consumer) in the pot.

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  38. Chris2 (766 comments) says:

    What makes the cost outrageous is that driving a taxi is unskilled work anyway.

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  39. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @Tautaioleua and PaulL

    Even as a born again capitalist I realise markets fail.

    In NZ becoming a taxi driver is ludicrously easy and guarantees a minimal income thus the high incidence of immigrants who end up as taxi drivers.

    NZ went from too few drivers through regulation and thus availability and cost issues to an oversupply. As taxis all work through co-ops they set costs so that taxi drivers can at least make a minimal income.

    The net result is that fare costs initially reduced and availability increased but fare costs then increased substantially and availability is still very high. Our taxi costs went through the roof but individual taxi drivers’ income decreased. This is not the behaviour of a normal market – something is screwing it up – I suspect the immensely low barrier to entry combined with the use of co-ops to effectively guarantee minimum incomes.

    What this article shows is that NZ has now expensive taxi fares.

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  40. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    ‘Imagine needing a $400,000 licence for the right to serve someone a cup of coffee.’ Photo: Rob Homer

    Work’s done, you’ve left the building, you’re standing on a street corner, and you want to get home. But home is half the city away, the trains are not working, it is the middle of the week and you can’t justify the cost of a taxi. Now the rain has started, you know the cat is at home with anxiety issues, and you really don’t want to have to wait for that bus to arrive and to wind its interminable way through the suburbs.

    So you press a button on your phone. ”Street Y in suburb X” is where you want to go. You press another button. ”$10” is how much you’ll pay to get there.

    Within a minute or so, a car pulls up at the corner.

    You have never met before, but the driver works just near you and lives in the street next to yours.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/apps-poised-to-drive-change-in-taxi-industry-20140502-37nb5.html#ixzz30e1YvBk7

    Not surprisingly, these innovations are proving shocking to established players in the affected industries. In the taxi industry, ”Uber wars” are sweeping the world. Court injunctions have been taken out in Berlin on an Uber service that allows riders to contact hire car drivers directly – rather than cab drivers. This service, known as UberBlack, still appears to be legal in Australian cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/apps-poised-to-drive-change-in-taxi-industry-20140502-37nb5.html#ixzz30e1tEpNv

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  41. seanmaitland (500 comments) says:

    Wellington is a shocker with the $10 fixed costs at the Airport. It cost us $28 to get a cab from the airport to Seatoun when we were down for Christmas.

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  42. ben (2,379 comments) says:

    Where is Uber in all this?

    slijmbal: oversupply? Absent subsidies, how? Actually there are non-trivial barriers to entry, thanks to the indefensible decision to force cameras to be installed (hey if they work, drivers – the sole beneficiaries of their protection – have all the incentives they need to invest). Sure markets fail – because governments intervene in them.

    Driverless cars will eliminate taxi drivers and, I suspect, will be so much cheaper than private vehicle ownership that they eliminate a good deal of private car ownership (private cars sit idle 95% of the time – massive gains available from sharing that fixed cost without a driver to pay). Although no doubt Labour+Greens will find a way to make that technology expensive as well.

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  43. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @Ben

    if taxi drivers spend a relatively small proportion of their time actually driving clients around then something is screwed up. My mrs does not drive and takes a lot of taxis – anecdotally outside of specific times such as the 3 PM peak for schools – drivers have a huge amount of dead time. There are obviously some efficiency issues here. This implies some sort of market fail. I admit I do not know the exact reason why.

    On a side note – I did the sums and taking taxis can now be cheaper than owning a car now dependent on number of trips, length etc. It is certainly cheaper for us for my wife the last time I did the calcs. This reinforces your view on automated cars.

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  44. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    The article mentions Berlin being more expensive than Auckland for cab fares. When I flew into Berlin I recall it costing a token amount to get into the CBD by train – might have been 6 or 8 euro or something like that. Not sure why you would get a cab when the trains are so good.

    In Auckland you also have the airbus which is reasonable – but only if you want to go to the CBD. I think that’s $17 one way or $28 return, not a bad option if you are travelling alone.

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  45. Recidivist_offender (28 comments) says:

    Taxi drivers can charge what they like. If you don’t want to pay that much, catch a bus or walk. Simple.

    Or what, are you advocating socialist price controls. Naughty.

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  46. Crusader (314 comments) says:

    When I came to live in Christchurch in 1999 I noticed that right outside the airport all along Memorial Avenue was free parking. What a fabulous thing. Christchurch citizens could fly away for a weekend and park their cars for free along the road outside. Funnily enough this did not last. The council-owned airport “improved” their facilities by putting in a multi-story carpark, increasing the parking fees for both short and long term parking, and “landscaping” Memorial Ave so it is almost impossible to park for free within walking distance of the airport. The city bus which used to go to the airport and use one stage fare on the electronic card was replaced by a special bus which cost more, of course, and the taxis got hit with higher fees to pick up and drop off (and the areas for private citizens to drop off and pick up were made smaller of course, and shorter duration).

    What’s my point? Whether the airport is owned by a council (which theoretically should act in the interests of the citizens of the town) or a private enterprise, it will still use its monopoly position to squeeze every dollar it can out of everyone who passes through. My contempt for CCC has been amplified many fold since its utter incompetence dealing with rebuild, consenting issues and of course now the flooding and infrastructure.

    “If you don’t like it, move away?” I have already bought land outside the city.

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  47. pilgrim33 (4 comments) says:

    Some comments from a 30 year taxi driver.

    “Kea says: At busy times its generally around $100.00 !”
    The only time you should get a fare of $100 in a CoOp cab would be when there was an unusual hold up,possibly Thursday or Friday afternoon.
    A crash on the Onehunga Bay motorway or at the George Bolt and Kirkbride Rd intersection could cause a fare that high but in my experience would happen only a few times a year.

    “gravedodger says: The elephant in the room here is that so many using the thieving bastards”
    If you knew the economics of running a taxi you might not use such foolish terms.

    “gump says: The taxi fares are expensive because AIAL charges a substantial fee to taxi drivers for each trip that originates from the airport.”
    The last time I checked the cost to operate a taxi on the Airport ranks was about $1600 per year for each car plus $2.00 per time to pull onto the rank.
    This does not take into account the six figure amount the company pays the airport for any access to the ranks.

    “Chris2 says: What makes the cost outrageous is that driving a taxi is unskilled work anyway.”
    Very wrong Chris2.
    If enforced as they were the laws make it a very skilled job.
    Go get your area knowledge certificates alone and you will change your mind.
    Go through the three day course with an exam that we use and I bet you can’t pass it on the first attempt.
    There’s a lot more to it than driving your mates around.

    “slijmbal says: In NZ becoming a taxi driver is ludicrously easy ,
    NZ went from too few drivers through regulation and thus availability and cost issues to an oversupply.
    As taxis all work through co-ops they set costs so that taxi drivers can at least make a minimal income.
    The net result is that fare costs initially reduced and availability increased but fare costs then increased substantially and availability is still very high. Our taxi costs went through the roof but individual taxi drivers’ income decreased. This is not the behaviour of a normal market – something is screwing it up – I suspect the immensely low barrier to entry combined with the use of co-ops to effectively guarantee minimum incomes.”

    We only had “too few”drivers on Christmas and New Year and for about one and a half hours per night on Friday and Saturday after the pubs closed.
    The rest of the time the numbers were about right despite the sensationalist nonsense run by the newspapers each Christmas and the fares,set by the Taxi Authority appointed by the government,were set to give the annual national average wage to a driver working a forty hour week.
    The formula for calculating the fares by the way had about thirty six elements.

    And not all taxi’s by any means are members of co-ops.
    I believe the number would be between five and ten groups organised as co-ops and the rest would be sole traders or companies.

    There is a strange resentment in New Zealand against taxi drivers which manifests as a belief that we should not make a decent living.

    And yes,I do want to be Minister of Transport.

    pilgrim33.

    All is one.

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