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Taxi Companies Ripping Off Airport Customers

United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, is warning consumers and taxi companies about the practice of some taxi drivers in charging minimum fares for short trips from airports.

Mr Dunne wrote recently to the Minister of Transport following an incident involving a taxi driver at Christchurch Airport late last year.

"Then, a taxi driver attempted to charge me a minimum fare of $15 to take me to a hotel that I was unfamiliar with, but which was literally on the airport's doorstep, less than 5 minutes' walk away as it turned out when I walked there, having refused to be ripped off."

"I immediately wrote a formal complaint to the Minister and the company concerned, United Taxis, and to date - nearly 4 months later - have not even had the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone a full reply from the company."

"I have previously had the same experience at Auckland Airport with some taxi companies there telling me a minimum fare of $20 applied to go to nearby Airport hotels, because these hotels had their own free shuttle."

"I have also heard of people being charged a flat taxi fare of $20 to go between the domestic and international terminals at Auckland Airport and wonder how many people, including tourists, have been ripped off by these practices," Mr Dunne says.

Mr Dunne says that the Minister of Transport has advised him that such practices are illegal and constitute an offence by the drivers concerned.

"I am therefore approaching the Taxi Federation seeking their co-operation that this illegal practice will be stamped out."

"Based on the Minister's advice I am also advising anyone else who has been told a minimum fare applies to formally complain to the LTSA, giving the cab number and name of the company concerned."

"The minority of taxi drivers who engage, without the knowledge of their companies I suspect, in this practice are no more than common thieves and fraudsters and deserve to be treated as such by the public, their industry and the law," Mr Dunne says.


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