Taxi fares from Auckland Airport are set to drop as new rules for taxi operators come into place.
Airport personnel met with taxi operators today to outline its plans for an improved taxi system, including standardised fees for all taxi operators, the ability for customers to choose their preferred brand or from the front of the queue, and a requirement that pre-chartered taxis park in allocated pick-up areas.
The current cost of a taxi fare from the airport to the CBD can vary significantly, with the per-kilometre rate differing by as much as a dollar between companies.
An Airport spokesman said they were aware of operators such as Uber operating in areas around the airport offering lower fees.
The new plans will create a more level playing field for drivers which should lead to cheaper fees for customers, Auckland Airport retail and commercial manager Richard Barker said.
"With SkyBus, pre-booked taxis and Uber all having grown market share in recent times, the new tender not only reflects the company's desire to look after its customers, but also to support taxi operators and drivers in an increasingly competitive marketplace," he said.
"Having partners who are committed to delivering consistently lower prices will give our customers confidence that taking a taxi from the airport is a reliable and attractive transport option."
Whereas the previous tender saw companies bidding different amounts for a licence to operate at the airport, the new tender will see all successful companies paying the same low weekly rental for rank space.
"This will shift the focus to selecting companies who can demonstrate that they share our commitment to delivering better value and service to our customers," Mr Barker said.
"To help create reliably lower prices, we will also be introducing capped pick-up fees which are lower than our customers are currently paying, meaning our customers can take a taxi from the rank, confident in the amount they expect to pay."
New Zealand Taxi Federation executive director Roger Heale said he supported the idea of the scheme.
"I support having all operators on the same playing field," he said. "That's what's happening across the industry.
"The key will be enforcing it."
Mr Heale was hesitant about customers having the option of choosing taxis from a queue, however.
"We encourage customers to still discuss the price of their fare before getting into a taxi.
"If all taxis are lined up in the same queue, unwitting travellers who don't know that some taxis have higher fares than others may get in a higher-priced taxi and be surprised with their fare at the end."
The new system
• 12 spaces in a single taxi rank at the international terminal; 24 at domestic terminal: each company to pay the same amount per space
• Customers can choose from their preferred brand or from the front of the queue
• Pre-chartered taxis will park in allocated pick-up areas
• All drivers subject to standard operating charges
• Maximum $5 pick-up fee; $2 drop-off fee