Taxis charging a king's ransom in rural areas

David Chinnery-Brown stands next to his taxi in Carterton.

David Chinnery-Brown stands next to his taxi in Carterton.

Taxi fares in rural areas of New Zealand can end up costing more than taking a similar trip in big cities such as Paris or New York.

It appears it might even be cheaper to rent a car and drive yourself than it is to use a taxi.

Figures received by Stuff show that it can cost anywhere between $50 and $80 for a 15-minute taxi ride in a rural area. 

For example, it costs up to $60 to get between the neighbouring Wairarapa towns of Masterton and Carterton, something Carterton-based New Zealand First MP Ron Mark knows all too well.

Uber's big plans for New Zealand
Taxi driver's $1,000 fine
Taxi fares set to come down

However, Mark doesn't blame the taxi companies.

"The market only absorbs what it's capable of absorbing," he said.

"It'd be nice if there were more taxis out and about, but the operators can only do what's operationally profitable. If you don't want to use one, make a plan and use a sober driver."

Like many regional centres, Wairarapa has fairly minimal public transport services. During the week the last bus out of Masterton leaves at 5.20pm, while the last train leaves at 3.40pm. There is a special 8.20pm train service on Fridays, but weekend trains are even less regular. 

Mark said more trains between Masterton and Wellington, in particular, would help the transport situation.

Ad Feedback

Masterton Radio Taxis director David Chinnery-Brown said the cost of taxis in Wairarapa was little different to those anywhere else in the country.

"Flagfall is $5, and it's $3 a kilometre after that.

"Get a taxi from the middle of Wellington to the Hutt and see how much that costs you."

Still, for many small town residents the cost is simply too steep. 

In May, former Masterton resident Mike Rigg found himself needing to get from Masterton to Carterton to pick up his car. Thinking a taxi would be the easiest option, he gave a Masterton taxi company a ring.

"I called the taxi man and he said it was going to cost $60," he said.

Put off by the cost, Rigg hung up and decided to hitchhike instead. After walking a kilometre down the road, he was picked up and reunited with his car.

"If the (taxi) price was $25 to $35 it would be decent, but $60 seems a bit extreme," he said.

For example, for $60 you can hire a rental car for the day  and drive up and down for 200km before being charged extra.

There have been calls for ridesharing services like Uber to enter rural communities, because they are usually much cheaper with the average trip costing between $6 and $20. 

Though Uber has 300,000 passengers and 4000 active drivers registered in New Zealand, it has no plans to expand outside the country's urban centres. 

But there could be changed ahead.

In a written statement, Associate Minister of Transport Tim Macindoe said the Land Transport Amendment Bill could open up more options.

"We're working on legislative changes at the moment to make it easier for people to operate small passenger services (like taxis) and promote car-pooling," he wrote.

"We know that New Zealanders want choice, and through this bill we're creating a more level playing field for operators so that people can have more choices in the future."


Masterton to Carterton, 15 kilometres/15 minutes, $60
Napier to Hastings, 20 kilometres/23 minutes, $70
Palmerston North to Feilding, 18 kilometres/17 minutes, $80
Wellington airport to Te Papa, 7.1 kilometres/16 minutes, $35
Wellington airport to Newlands, 17 kilometres/22 minutes, $80 
Auckland Sky Tower to Birkenhead, 9 kilometres/17 minutes, $30
Christchurch airport to Hagley Park, 10 kilometres/18 minutes, $42
Dunedin to Mosgiel, 16 kilometres/15 minutes, $50
(Credit: local area taxi companies)

The British Museum to Abbey Road Studios, 3.2 miles (5 kilometres)/14 minutes, 15 pounds ($28.40)
The British Museum to Wembley, 10.9 miles (17.5 kilometres)/29 minutes, 47 pounds ($89)

Moulin Rouge to Musee Rodin, 4.4 kilometres/15 minutes, 18 euros ($29)
Moulin Rouge to Garges-les-Gonesse, 14.5 kilometres/31 minutes, 34 euros ($54)

Empire State Building to Children's Museum of the Arts, 2.3 miles (3.7 kilometres)/16 minutes, $16.90 ($25)
Empire State Building to Jersey City, 8.4 miles (13.5 kilometres)/29 minutes, $40 ($58)

* The cross town rip-off:
In 2014, Auckland Black Cabs was investigated after charging a businessman nearly $200 for a trip from Auckland airport to Albany. "I am horrified that someone could be charged that much," Auckland Airport general manager Richard Barker told the New Zealand Herald.

* Social media goes awry:
The Victorian Taxi Association thought they were onto a winner when they launched an online campaign, ostensibly to encourage positive stories about taxis in Melbourne. It backfired horribly. Tweets flooded in about angry behaviour, exorbitant fares and complaining cabbies. "So, that @yourtaxis campaign seems to be working well... " one Twitter user wrote.

* A nightmare in East Timor:
Stacey Addison's trip of a lifetime took a dark turn when she caught a taxi with the wrong person. The American veterinarian happened to be in a cab with a stranger who was transporting illegal drugs; police swooped, and everyone in the taxi was arrested. Addison spent six long months in an East Timor prison before finally being set free.

* No meters in Malaysia:
Time and again, taxi drivers in Malaysia manage to top the list of the world's worst cabbies. One intrepid Malaysian reporter found the dismaying rumours to be mostly on the mark. "The cabbies I encountered may not have been as nasty and rude as they have been made out to be," writer Natalie Heng said, "but when it comes to refusing to use the meter and fleecing the passenger, it seems all too sadly true."

* The one that wasn't: 
In 2016, swimmer Ryan Lochte's story of being held at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics - after catching a ride in a famously sketchy Brazilian taxi - made headlines around the world. Only, as it turned out, it wasn't true: Lochte and three others had actually drunkenly vandalised a petrol station, then tussled with a security guard. Lochte was suspended from swimming for 10 months.

 - Sunday Star Times


Ad Feedback
special offers

Murder in a tight-knit town video

Quinn Patterson is said to have liked guns, which he fired off "on a daily basis".

Wendy and Natanya Campbell were kind and respected. But their killer had a violent history and was "done" with life.

Rental homes risky for kids

Research from Growing Up in New Zealand's Now We Are Four report showed private rentals had significantly fewer home ...

Children living in rentals are more exposed to safety risks than those whose families own a home, study shows.

Heavy snow warning in place

Tekapo was temporarily cut off by snow on Thursday.

Five vehicles hit ice and skid off the road in Southland as the cold snap grips the country.

Meet artist Laura Williams

Left: Unrequited. Right: Artist Laura Williams at home with her budgies.

Full-bodied and free-spirited, the world depicted by this Auckland artist is one of brimming with humour, flowers and colour.


Work to clear two slips video

A slip on Evans Bay Parade, Wellington, came down on to the road. The home above has been evacuated.

Major Wellington slips trigger road closures and one home is evacuated in the Aro Valley.

Winter's bite is back video

Cold Antarctic air is behind the front bringing snow to Tekapo and other parts of the South Island.

Wellington in the firing line with gale-force southerlies on the way.

The disappearing price of premium

2032016 News Photo: Marion van Dijk/Fairfax NZ

Petrol price sign at BP2go Haven Road.

Petrol stations don't show premium fuel prices anymore and it allows gouging, AA says.

Wind hits Wellington flights

Wellington's wind is notorious for giving passengers landing in the city a bumpy landing. (File photo)

Flights have been disrupted in the capital, and some have been diverted.


Newly-built home to be removed

This post-quake rebuild is in one of Christchurch's lowest-lying areas. Now it will have to go to make way for a flood ...

It's one of 13 Christchurch properties to make way for a council flood protection scheme.

School in lock-down

Police told Broomfield School to go into lockdown on Friday morning, principal Andrew Kemp said.

There is a possible firearm risk at a domestic incident nearby, police say. 

'Shameful' comments

Canterbury District Health Board chairman Mark Solomon has complained to the State Services Commission about the board's ...

Impasse deepens between cash-strapped CDHB and Government, with complaint laid.

Heavy snow warning in place

Tekapo was temporarily cut off by snow on Thursday.

Roads down south affected by snow, but rain to ease in Canterbury from mid-morning.


Migrant renters' cannabis rort

Professionally installed heat lamps and hydroponic equipment were set up in various rooms, including bedrooms, of the ...

Illegal immigrant ring allegedly caught growing commercial amounts of cannabis in rentals.

Home burns to ground

Neighbours were the first to spot the flames surging from the 30m by 15m building around 11.30am on Thursday.

Residents were in a nearby town when they heard the fire siren.

Chris Bush cold case lead

Chris Bush was shot dead in 1987 at the Red Fox Tavern.

New information reopens case of Waikato barman shot in 1987 Red Fox Tavern hold-up.

Maitland's top weekend markets

Plenty of options at a range of markets on in the Waikato to support your community and buy fresh fruit and vegetables.

Stalls brimming with goodies are popping up left, right and centre in the Waikato. Te Ahua Maitland brings you all the details.


New owners for burger joint

New Prohibition owners Andy Le and Gabby Tran will be keeping the burger restaurant much the same.

A popular New Plymouth burger joint is under new ownership but the burgers won't change.

Collecting for a tangi

The men had collected 251 paua between them.

Two men were caught with 251 paua, 191 of them undersized.

Fail and move on

New Plymouth man Paul Feltoe swam more than 32 kilometres across the Catalina Channel in July.

 A couple of weeks ago New Plymouth man Paul Feltoe got a boat from Los Angeles to Catalina Island - then swam the 32.3kms back.

Firewood running out

A roaring fire maybe a thing of the past unless you've stocked up as supplies of firewood  run out in Taranaki with ...

Stock up in summer to avoid being left out in the cold.


Wowed over WOW

Jennie Munro in her workshop with costumes that have been finalists in Wellington's international World Of Wearable Arts ...

A Palmerston North designer has made the finals of September's wearable arts show.

No intercepting emails

Horizons Regional Council chief executive Michael McCartney sees no reason to intercept emails, unlike Horowhenua ...

Council chief executives see no reason for intercepting emails - unlike Horowhenua council's boss.

Collar-dragging teacher cleared

Clive Stevens with his grandmother Maureen Stevens.

Teacher who dragged special needs student along floor did nothing wrong, investigation finds.

Back to school

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei stopped to talk with Tanika Jeffery, 14, who was learning speech writing in te reo, at ...

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei talks education at her old high school.


Car crashes into house

A house that was damaged after a car drove into it on Toi Toi St, Nelson.

A car has crashed into a Nelson home causing substantial damage.

Man critically injured

A man has critical injuries after a car hit a tree on the Coastal Highway.

A man is trapped in a car with serious injuries after a car hit a tree near Nelson.

Grandstand gets short reprieve

The grandstand may be a drawcard for spectators again.

Golden Bay Grand Stand supporters have three months to come up with a preservation and funding plan.

Battle in the skies

Passengers disembark the first Jetstar flight from Wellington to Nelson. (File photo)

Regional airline boss says "it's a race to the bottom, and we're caught up in it".


'Our niche is Marlborough'

Dog Point Vineyard co-owners and event sponsors Ivan Sutherland, left, and James Healy read up for the Marlborough Book ...

With intimate venues and stunning surrounds, the Marlborough Book Festival is a little different.

Bigger planes?

Sounds Air chief executive Andrew Crawford inside the cockpit of one of the company's 9-seat Pilatus PC-12s.

Demand for flights prompts Marlborough airline to investigate "quantum leap" to larger planes.

Blenheim bemoans unfair fares

Air New Zealand said it would not be reinstating direct flights to Christchurch from Marlborough Airport.

"It's almost like we've offended Air New Zealand somehow and they're making us pay." 

Nurses to move to hub

The district nurses will have a similar amount of storage space at the health hub, the review panel says.

Where they need more staff, new technology and better communication, review finds.

South Canterbury

Region poised for milk boost

While the forecast price rise from Fonterra is good new for South Canterbury dairy farmers, regional Federated Farmers ...

Another $25m added to South Canterbury farmers' milk payout.

Rugby player jailed

Kolinio Yabia Tamanitoakula was jailed for three years, four months and two weeks.

His distressed victim was covered in mud when she ran in front of a car to get help.

Change possible - Falloon

National Party candidate Andrew Falloon met ECan representatives on Thursday, following heated public debate about the ...

Retrofitting plan still on the table, National Party candidate suggests.

Roads reopen, rain continues video

Contractors clear snow from the road at Tekapo on Thursday morning.

Roads to Tekapo reopen as schools send  students home early to avoid flooding.


Hall off to world champs

New Zealand discus thrower Marshall Hall practices ahead of the 2017 IAAF World Championships.

Invercargill discus thrower 'committed and focused' ahead of IAAF Athletics World Championships.

Ice causing crashes

10082016. News.Kavinda Herath. Southland Times/Stuff-Ice on the Winton Lorneville Highway

Police are warning drivers to take it slow and beware of ice on the roads.

House fire in south Invercargill

A house on Dalrymple St was "well ablaze" when fire crews arrived on Thursday morning.

One person is being treated for smoke inhalation following a house fire in Invercargill.

Data won't be public

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the ministry had no intention to make information about individual fishing locations public.

Ad Feedback