Tauranga festivalgoers are angry at having to pay more than double the usual taxi or Uber fare to get a ride home.
Ilande de Klerk, 18, and her boyfriend Mathew Balfour, 20, travelled from Rotorua to attend yesterday's Bay Dreams festival.
The couple ordered an Uber from Welcome Bay to the Trustpower Baypark Stadium late morning on January 2, which cost them about $35.
But after the festival, the price for a ride home had more than tripled.
At first, the pair had ordered an Uber, which was going to cost them $130 but when they tried to book their ride using the app an alert came up saying no drivers were available.
The pair and two other friends had walked from the stadium to Bayfair Shopping Centre where they joined about 100 others who were waiting for a taxi.
About 12.15pm, de Klerk managed to flag one down.
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."
When we got into the taxi, de Klerk said the driver was "really rude".
"He was shutting conversation down and was driving really scary," she said. "He was going really fast around corners."
On their way home, de Klerk said there were people walking along the highway.
de Klerk said she had not made an official complaint to the taxi company they travelled with.
If they couldn't afford a ride home, de Klerk said she and her boyfriend would have had to walk home or wait into the early hours of the morning for a cheaper option.
The couple expected to have paid a bit more for a ride to and from the festival, but were not prepared to spend an extra $115 on top of what they had spent for their Bay Dreams ticket and food and drinks.
"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 have said they had a similar experience.
Bruce Rainey of Tauranga Taxi Cabs said while his company used metered fares yesterday, he understood a number of taxi drivers who had arrived from out of town were hiking up the 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."
Rainey said under the new regulations, taxi drivers did not have to display the fare on the meter.
"You just have to agree 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 that drivers were upping their usual fares, but said they were not doing anything illegal.
"The problem only happens the next day when they check their bank accounts," he said. "They never complain on the night."
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 1 October 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