When Ilande de Klerk and her boyfriend Mathew Balfour tried to leave the Bay Dreams festival, the cost of their ride home had more than tripled.

The pair were among many other festival-goers who were caught out by what has been called a "big Lotto day" for taxi and Uber drivers.

De Klerk, 18, and Balfour, 20, ordered an Uber from Welcome Bay to the Trustpower Baypark Stadium on the morning of January 2, which cost them about $35.

However, after the festival, the price for the return trip home jumped to $130.

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Declining the ride, the pair and two other friends walked from the stadium to Bayfair Shopping Centre where they joined about 100 others waiting for a taxi.

About 12.15pm, de Klerk managed to flag one down.

Ilande de Klerk, 18, and her boyfriend Mathew Balsour, 20, paid $115 for a taxi ride home after the Bay Dreams festival on January 2. Photo / Kristin Macfarlane
Ilande de Klerk, 18, and her boyfriend Mathew Balsour, 20, paid $115 for a taxi ride home after the Bay Dreams festival on January 2. Photo / Kristin Macfarlane

When she asked how much it would cost to get from Bayfair to Welcome Bay, the taxi driver told her it would be $115 with a $2 surcharge, and she had to pay up front.

The Rotorua teenager said the meter was not running on the taxi, so there was no way of knowing how much their ride would have cost. "They just tell you a price."

The couple expected to have paid a bit more for a ride to and from the festival but were not prepared for the extra $115.

"It was an extra $115 we didn't really have but we didn't have a choice," de Klerk said.

At least four other ticket holders said they had a similar experience.

Matt Macilquham said Uber was charging $135 for what should have been a $35 ride from Baypark to Bethlehem.

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The 21-year-old Aucklander said a friend offered to pick him and three others up after the festival after he phoned to say how much an Uber was going to cost.

"It saved us a lot of money."

If he had known about the increased fares he would have budgeted better for a ride home, he said.

Bruce Rainey, of Tauranga Taxi Cabs, said his company used metered fares on Wednesday, but he understood some taxi drivers who had arrived from out of town were hiking up their prices.

"It is like a giant Lotto day," he said.

"It is just going to become the norm ... it is mayhem, and it is going to happen every year."

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Rainey said under the new regulations, taxi drivers did not have to display the fare on the meter.

"You just have to agree on the fare with the passenger."

The Tauranga taxi driver said there were more people wanting rides home than there were taxis available.

He said many calls were coming from people waiting at bus stops who couldn't get a ride because buses were full.

Rainey did not agree with drivers upping their usual fares but said they were not doing anything illegal.

An Uber spokesperson said the goal was to ensure users can push a button and get a ride within minutes, even on busy days.

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"The best thing we can do to keep prices as low as possible is to get enough drivers on the road to meet demand, which is why we reminded local drivers the new year period would be busy."

In the Uber app, before riders request a trip, a fare estimate shows in the app so they know how much to expect to pay.

"When fares are higher than usual, they are asked to confirm the higher fare before request. This helps passengers compare products and choose the method of transport that best suits them."

Thousands of people partied at the Bay Dreams 2019 festival. Photo / George Novak
Thousands of people partied at the Bay Dreams 2019 festival. Photo / George Novak

THOUSANDS ATTEND ONE-DAY FESTIVAL

Bay Dreams directors Pato Alvarez and Mitch Lowe were happy to have pulled off a successful one-day festival, which drew about 30,000 people to Mount Maunganui.

However, the promoters were aware of some niggly wait times in lines due to the large numbers of festival-goers and people being charged extra for an Uber or taxi home.

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Lowe said everything inside the festival ran smoothly, but some of what happened outside the festival was out of their control.

"There was always going to be hurdles ... When you are dealing with record-breaking numbers there are so many variables," he said.

"But those are just little things we want to improve on next year."

The promoters said there were plans in place to make getting to and from the festival easier, with between 1500 and 1800 people using the buses for transport as well as using drop-off and pick-up zones.

Alvarez felt proud to have invited international acts to New Zealand and Mount Maunganui.

"Cardi B posted on social media saying she was never going to forget Tauranga, that's awesome. It doesn't get any bigger than her."

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Bay Dreams directors Mitch Lowe and Pato Alvarez with Bay Venues commercial manager Ervin McSweeney. Photo / Andrew Warner
Bay Dreams directors Mitch Lowe and Pato Alvarez with Bay Venues commercial manager Ervin McSweeney. Photo / Andrew Warner

Alvarez said he hoped to make next year's event even bigger, with a smooth-running 2019 event proving they could aim to facilitate another 5000 people next year.

The promoters thanked the Tauranga Police, Tauranga City Council and the community for allowing them to put on one of New Zealand's biggest summer festivals in Mount Maunganui.

Tauranga Police area prevention manager Inspector Zane Smith said only two people were arrested at the Bay Dreams event.

Several other people were removed from the festival due to disorderly behaviour.

Smith said the crowd was generally well-behaved. However, there was significant disruption to traffic throughout the day.

Three collisions between cars and pedestrians were reported and one serious nose-to-tail, he said.

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Commercial driving, what has changed?
- The Government has simplified the requirements for small passenger services.
- Previously there were separate categories and rules for taxis, private hire, and shuttles. From October 1, 2017, these services are regulated under a single category of small passenger service, meaning one set of rules for all.
- In addition, a person or organisation facilitating a small passenger service – including technology or app-based operators connecting passengers and drivers - is now required to be licensed.
- Some requirements that impose costs on operators but no longer provide significant benefits have been removed.
Source: New Zealand Transport Agency