Fixed taxi fares from airports?

May 7th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

says it would like to have a fixed taxi fare price for the journey into the city to stop some drivers charging exorbitant fares – but it can’t take any action until current contracts expire in 2016.

I’m not sure that is a great idea. There’s nothing stopping a taxi company offering a fixed fare. Plus you have buses and shuttles which have fixed fares.

What I would like to see is a website that shows all the taxi firms in a city and what each one charges. Then one can know in advance which firms are the cheapest.

I always use Combined as their drivers speak English, don’t get lost, have decent cars, don’t stink of food, take Taxicharge and I know their tariffs. Very rarely have had a bad experience with them.

For visitors arriving from overseas, I can see the appeal of a fixed fare, as they may not know which firms are good to choose. But I’m not sure there is a huge variation in tariffs per km. I think the problem is that sometimes you get a driver who doesn’t take the shortest route – but that is actually an offence.

UPDATE: A reader points out that David Cunliffe promised in his leadership campaign higher wages for taxi drivers, so I guess that will push the prices right up.

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20 Responses to “Fixed taxi fares from airports?”

  1. peterwn (3,238 comments) says:

    There would need to be a fixed fare set hour by hour – to allow for congestion. Seems that the high fares claimed are because of congestion on route resulting in a time charge kicking in. The only other possibility would be drivers taking inefficient routes, but most drivers would pride themselves on taking efficient routes.

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  2. Julian (173 comments) says:

    Discount Taxis offer a fixed fee to Auckland Airport, normally around $30-$35 from Central Auckland.

    They’re generally on time. Cabs are a bit rough and English often not very good but they already know where you’re going.

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  3. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    It will all be solved when “Tojo” Cunliffe gives the drivers a living wage. Don’t know what will happen to the owners, they have to pay their wages, take meagre drawings, and maybe pay turnover tax as well.

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  4. MT_Tinman (3,092 comments) says:

    As you note DPF some vehicles offer set fares. They are called shuttles.

    Their drivers don’t need to know where to go.

    The story quoted worries because here is yet another overpaid tosser attempting to poke his nose into other’s business. It is the airports job to park aeroplanes, the cabbie’s job to convey the punters to their destination.

    Fares vary mainly because people go to different places.

    In ChCh you can get to part of the city for <$30 but to go to Lancaster Park for instance is $40 more often than not. ***both prices exclude airport fees passed on by the poor bloody cabbie trying to feed and house his family.

    One minor point; The first thing most honest cabbies ask is "Do you have a preferred route?".

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  5. georgebolwing (754 comments) says:

    David Lange used to say that his initial test of economic freedom in any country he visited was to look at the airport and see whether people queue for taxis or taxis queue for people. In New Zealand’s main centers, at least, we have very competitive markets for taxis and consumers have a lot of choice. If they exercise that choice poorly and get poor service, then they have a simple solution: switch supplier.

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  6. georgebolwing (754 comments) says:

    Googling “new Zealand taxi fare calculator” got 4,300,000 results. Surely it isn’t hard to work out roughly what you should be charged?

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  7. mjw (386 comments) says:

    Auckland airport is a monopoly that extracts money from every possible source including charges to taxi companies and fees for taxi access. Why on earth blame the workers instead of the Monopolist?

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  8. GPT1 (2,116 comments) says:

    I use the bus in Auckland, it’s quicker than a taxi due to bus lanes, is cheap and comfortable. Odd concept – public transport that is reliable, reasonably priced and efficient and people use it.

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  9. Left Right and Centre (2,910 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman – response to ‘do you have a preferred route’ – in my extremely limited peasant experience of taxi drivers – mostly they don’t say shit. Try to get a conversation rolling. Good luck there. Short oddball little answers. They make up for it by yapping endlessly to each other on the rank. During the 90%+ of the time they spend waiting for fares (I don’t know – they must spend ages doing not a lot). But of course that’s right – which route do you want ? I’ll try to remember that along with the rest of life.

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  10. Left Right and Centre (2,910 comments) says:

    Isn’t it mostly outsiders being ripped off ? A maximum charge to CBD – what about that ?

    I don’t know about from an airport – taxis in general you can try it on haggling a fixed fare. You’d rather negotiate with terrorists – haha. Of course KB users aren’t the ones who need protecting – $200 taxi fare in one nasty instance ? KB user wouldn’t cop it.

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  11. mara (759 comments) says:

    “Do you have a preferred route?” What’s that in Urdu?

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  12. OneTrack (2,966 comments) says:

    I’d like to restrict the amount that Auckland Airport charges for parking and departure taxes. Since AA seem eager to restrict other peoples businesses, I’m sure they’ll come to the party.

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  13. MT_Tinman (3,092 comments) says:

    LR&C, choose a better taxi driver.

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  14. godruelf (55 comments) says:

    You can also get a set price fare using the Air New Zealand website to https://www.taxi.co.nz/ Gives a prepaid option using Credit card and a number of options/prices including cabs and shuttles .

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  15. redqueen (551 comments) says:

    Remember, Cunners probably thinks that only rich pricks should be able to take taxis, rather than the masses. It makes it a lot easier to put up prices when you have an elite clientele to sell to, rather than having to worry about the unwashed masses (they’re just there to vote for their superiors, after all).

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  16. hmmokrightitis (1,579 comments) says:

    “Do you have a preferred route?”

    $5 says Corporate Cabs dont ask Mallard or Winston that :)

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  17. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    The airport makes a lot out of their monopoly holding of the land there that the taxis have to pay to use.
    The govt should get in there and regulate down the costs the airport charge the taxi companies.
    I feel sorry for the taxi drivers and us taxpayers who have to pay for all the breaucrats and politicans who use them instead of the downtown bus which they should be made to use

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  18. Paulus (2,591 comments) says:

    When I was working we always used Corporate Cabs – in 20 years never a problem.
    Owner drivers, who always new where you were going – Wellington and Auckland, and they helped if you had luggage.
    All our staff ladies used them, as they were safe, particularly at night.

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  19. jcuk (663 comments) says:

    Shortest Route …. I remember when I wanted to go from the Ferry to Kilbirnie[?] to pick up a rental car close to closing time and the driver took me by Oriental Bay rather than the congested tunnel route … I appreciated his thinking.

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  20. WineOh (624 comments) says:

    Taxi prices from Wellington into CBD are bolstered by big fees put on by the airport, Wellington Combined has pole position there that they pay a big price for – guess who pays the bill in the end though.

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