Reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Airport taxi fares to city could drop $30

Taxis waiting outside the domestic terminal at Auckland International Airport. Photo / File
Taxis waiting outside the domestic terminal at Auckland International Airport. Photo / File

Auckland Airport says taxi fares to the city should drop by up to $30 when a new system takes effect next month.

Six companies have been selected by the airport to operate from its premises for the next three years, through a tendering process.

The change comes two years after an international survey found taxi fares between the South Auckland airport and the CBD were among the world's most expensive, and a year after a Herald survey found the gap between different companies' charges was close to $60.

Auckland Airport's retail and commercial manager Richard Barker said the selected taxi companies' proposed fare schedules mean prices are expected to drop by up to $30, and he hopes changes will create a more even playing field among operators.

The companies selected to operate from designated taxi ranks at the terminal buildings are Auckland Co-op, Alert, Corporate Cabs, Green Cabs, Auckland Taxi Service (ATS) and Cheap Cabs.

"During the tender process we talked to the major taxi and ride-sharing companies. As part of the changes we have also invited new generation operators, such as Uber, to operate out of Auckland Airport on the same terms as other existing pre-chartered transport providers," Mr Barker said.

This means that Uber drivers and other taxi companies and shuttles wanting to pick up or drop off pre-booked passengers from the airport will pay an annual forecourt fee to the airport of $172.50 and a levy per pick up ($5) and drop off ($2).

New technology will be introduced to automatically deduct levies from drivers each time they access the airport.

Last month it was reported that New Zealand airports were struggling with the issue of Uber drivers picking up passengers without permission.

The six companies selected through the tender process will be able to wait at the designated ranks for passengers who have not pre-booked transport.

Information about the companies, including their per-kilometre rates and fixed fare prices, will be clearly displayed at the forecourt.

Changes will take effect on June 13.

In June 2014, taxi prices to Auckland Airport hit headlines after a fare comparison across 24 cities by international travel website CheapFlights found New Zealand had the third most expensive per-kilometre taxi fares.

The report, which was 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.

The current system at Auckland Airport sees about 600 drivers from eight registered companies licensed to operate from a designated rank and a free-flow rank on the premises.

Drivers in the designated rank belong to companies that pay for the privilege of fewer spaces so each driver collects more fares, and all drivers paid a $2 levy for each trip.

All taxi and shuttle companies can drop passengers off at the airport.

According to the Airport's website, a fare from the airport into the city should cost between NZ$75 - NZ$90 one-way.

But last year, a Herald survey found the gap between fares from the airport to the CBD was close to $60, with company Cheap Cabs the least expensive, charging only $33 for a pre-booked trip from the airport to the city.

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
• $5 pick-up fee; $2 drop-off fee

- NZ Herald

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