$50 taxi fare for 7-minute ride stuns retired man

A retiree who was charged $50 for what he says is usually a seven-minute ride to his house wants taxi companies to abandon big surcharges for short trips.

David Richardson said he was stunned to be charged so much for a taxi ride from Dunedin International Airport to his home near Outram on Thursday.

He did not dispute the fare but thought City Taxis should not have charged a $15 out-of-town surcharge for a trip so close to the airport.

The charge recognised taxis sometimes travelled far from base for their fares, but this taxi was still much closer to the airport than the city.

"It could have returned to the airport for more fares, so it would have been similar to a taxi working in town," Mr Richardson said.

"Charging the surcharge on everyone, regardless of how close they are to the airport, is unfair."

City Taxis spokesman Ron Gilkison said the surcharge was clearly stated in the price schedule on the door of all taxis.

It applied to fares south of Riccarton Rd to recognise the cost of attending to fares out of the city.

"The taxi might only travel for 10 or so minutes from the airport, but that taxi had to get there before it could carry the passenger.

"It's about meeting the cost of the trip to get to the point of making the fare - otherwise, we'd be in the ridiculous situation of taxis travelling long distances for low fares from short rides."

GreyPower Otago president Jo Millar urged companies with similar surcharges to consider their effect on short-ride, fixed-income passengers.

She was compiling a list of charges, including Gold Card discount rates, and will advise retirees to choose their taxi according to the tariff list on the taxi door.

"The companies are entitled to charge them, but customers are entitled to take whatever taxi gives them the best value on the rank."

Mr Gilkison said airport fares were also affected by the cost of the service contracts taxis had with the airport company.

Drivers also had to pay $3 - rising to $3.50 next month - to enter the taxi stand, he said.


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