Taxi fares from the Melbourne airport rank set to jump


PASSENGERS will pay more for a cab when they get into one at Melbourne Airport under sneaky changes to ­Tullamarine taxi rank fees.

Melbourne Airport has advised the Taxi Services Commission that it plans to more than double its rank fees when broader changes to Victorian cab fares are introduced.

The airport’s slug on taxi operators, which it “supports” being passed on to consumers, will go from $1.20 to $2.45 to cover “increasing infrastructure and operational costs”.

At the moment, customers pay a $2 fee — including the $1.20 kept by the airport and a 68c driver handling fee — for an airport pick-up.

The airport submission says the total fee is expected to ­increase to $3.40, once an accompanying increase in the driver handling fee is included.

Across the board, taxi fares are set to change as early as May. The Napthine Government is considering recommendations for the new fare structure from the Essential Services Commission as part of sweeping industry reforms.

New fares are likely to include peak and off-peak rates, and discounted flat fares to the airport from the CBD.

Melbourne Airport’s submission says it will introduce its revised rank fees at the same time to “minimise potential for consumer confusion”.

“The setting of charges payable by taxis seeking to operate at Melbourne Airport is a matter for the airport,” it says.

The new slug comes months after the airport quietly jacked up parking fees by as much as 34 per cent.

The airport says because taxi operators have narrow margins and pass the current access charge to passengers, it “supports the pass-through of this increased charge to the passenger”. Passengers were the “ultimate recipient” of benefits associated with investment in infrastructure.

Taxi Services Commission chair Graeme Samuel claimed there was a lack of control over the airport’s pricing on its land, whether car parking or taxi rank fees. “They can essentially charge whatever they like,” he said.

Source: News Ltd