Airport cab fares join mile-high club


Air New Zealand passengers pre-booking cabs from Queenstown Airport to the resort’s CBD are paying a sky-high price per kilometre. 

That’s the bottom line of a Mountain Scene price check on Air NZ Taxis, a new online booking service launched last month. 

The quoted price via Queenstown Taxis from the airport into town is $40.47 for the 7.6km trip – $5.32 per km. 

That’s nearly twice the $2.71 per km for the 19.6km trip from Auckland Airport into the heart of the City of Sails. Queenstown’s rate is also higher than the other two centres featured by Air NZ Taxis – Christchurch and Wellington – where airport-to-CBD rides cost $3.73 and $4.90 per km respectively. 

The Air NZ Taxis website boasts a “guarantee of lowest rate”, saying “we’ve negotiated so you don’t have to”. 

The new service is provided by Auckland’s Alert Taxis “and their subcontractors on behalf of Air NZ”, the website says. 

Queenstown Taxis boss Dave Wright says the new Air NZ-backed service has got off to “a slow start”. 

“It’s just early times yet, of course.” 

Why’s your per-km rate so high? 

“The fare schedule is higher here because it costs a lot more to run a vehicle in Queenstown – it’s as simple as that really,” Wright says. 

“Fuel’s dearer for a start and the hills here cost more in petrol.” 

Then there are repairs, maintenance and depreciation, he adds. 

Is Queenstown Airport’s $6 levy on cabbies also a factor? 

Yes and no – other airports probably charge as much, Wright says. 

The other main ingredient in the higher per-km rate is Queenstown Taxis’ $4.80 “flag fall” – a flat figure whether it’s a short trip or a long trip, Wright says. 

“If you spread that flag fall over Queenstown’s 7.6kms or you spread it over Auckland’s 19kms – well, do the maths and that explains it,” he adds. 

Is Queenstown’s flag fall higher than Auckland’s? 

“On average, my guess is it probably would be.” 

Auckland’s Alert Taxis say their flag fall is $3 per trip.