Taxi Trauma: Reasons To Never Use Taxis For Airport Transfers

When commuting to and from an airport, you want a safe, efficient means of transport. Unfortunately, the quality of taxi services at Australian airports has declined over the past decade. As alternate transfer systems and Perth international airport parking operations develop, travellers opt for these more reliable services. Here are the main reasons to consider alternatives and never use airport taxis again.

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The fastest routes to major airports are often express toll roads. This may prove convenient, but the cost of those tolls will be added to your metered fare. A fare from Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne to the CBD will cost about $60; however, tolls and airport charges will add a further $10. In addition, there is a 20% fare surcharge after midnight.

Melbourne, Perth and Sydney regularly appear on lists as having the most expensive airport taxi fares in the world. In Sydney, the cost averages at $4.23 per kilometre. Although the CBD is quite close, fares are prohibitive when travelling to or from the outer suburbs.

Rainy days and peak times are notorious for creating long taxi queues at Australian airports. In Perth, airport travellers can usually expect to wait more than two hours for a taxi. Passengers try to resolve this problem by hiring private taxi services and paying an even higher fare.


Long hauling involves taking unwitting passengers by the longest route possible. Whilst you are distracted by answering emails or taking phone calls, the driver may well choose a “scenic route” costing up to double the normal fare.

Australian taxi drivers are often unfamiliar with the city in which they work. An inability to find a destination and reliance on routes dictated by GPS systems can result in overcharging. An inexperienced taxi driver may be unaware of road works or congested routes. This adds up to higher taxi fares and increased frustration.

Many passengers depend on the convenience of credit cards to pay fares. In 2012, Australia’s consumer magazine Choice named Cabcharge as a recipient of a “Shonky” award. Passengers were being gouged 10% when paying by credit card. Since then, Cabcharge has continually been the subject of investigations and government regulation as it finds new ways to increase already exorbitant taxi fares.

Personal Safety

Everyone has a horror tale about a taxi service. Consider the poor Melbourne passengers who had horror rides with a driver wearing a medical mask and gloves. Driving erratically and reaching speeds up to 140km per hour, the driver spoke of “self-destruction”. This highlights the fact that taxi companies are limited in their abilities to test drivers for mental stability when issuing licenses.

The number of crimes being attributed to taxi drivers has become so serious that official investigations into the industry have been conducted. In 2012, an inquiry into the Victorian taxi industry resulted in a police crackdown on taxi drivers. The worst complaints related to serious crimes such as molestation, sexual harassment, theft and assault. The findings of a South Australian inquiry into the taxi industry reveal equally disturbing instances. Examples include passengers who were sexually assaulted, beaten with iron bars and had credit card information stolen.

Since many passengers who have problems do not make complaints directly to the taxi companies, it is likely that these problems are more widespread than statistics indicate.

Seeking Solutions

Where possible, look for express shuttle buses or trains. You might choose to begin and end your journey with a minimum of fuss by taking your own car to the airport. Plan your airport transport before you leave in order to ensure trouble-free travel.

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