Queenstown's taxi route rout

JOHN EDENS AND FAIRFAX
Last updated 16:08 17/07/2014

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Queenstown is one of the most expensive places in the world for taxi fares to and from the airport - according to a pricing survey.

Auckland-based firm Digital Hothouse surveyed fares between airports and cities in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australasia.

Christchurch topped the list as the world's most expensive for trips to town from the airport, followed by little old Queenstown.

The research, compiled on June 28, included cities in New Zealand, Spain, Russia, the United States and Britain. It found Christchurch had the highest average taxi fare in dollars per kilometre at $4.50 per kilometre, closely followed by Queenstown at $4.38/km.

Green Cabs Queenstown referred the Mirror to the company's Wellington-based managing director Callum Brown, who said Queenstown was a special case and taxi fares were lower for residents while tourists paid full price.

"Queenstown is a unique

market. Queenstown is not the same [as other towns] it's very busy now, it's very busy in summer then it has long periods where it's really, really dead.

"If you want a taxi service in Queenstown you're going to have to pay a little bit more. Green Cabs are doing whatever we can."

No-one was available for comment from Queenstown Blue Bubble Taxis.

Go Rentals commissioned the research to benchmark taxi prices in New Zealand against other countries.

Go Rentals general manager James Dalglish said Queenstown was a little different from other cities because the distance between the airport and CBD was shorter than, for instance, Auckland or Wellington.

"The other point is [the airport] is in Frankton not Queenstown itself, you have to get that journey between the two. The [tourist] attractions are spread up hill and down dale. We wanted to compare and benchmark and understand how we price against taxis as an alternative."

Digital Hothouse chief executive Paul Thornton said Blue Bubble Taxis in Queenstown were included in the national survey. The idea behind the research was to gauge whether complaints about pricing were legitimate, he said.

"Let's see if we're just complaining over nothing or if there's an issue. We knew they were expensive but certainly didn't expect the top seven to be here or across the Tasman."

Wellington and Auckland international airports were also in the top seven, as well as airports in three Australian cities.

London Heathrow Airport was the dearest outside of Australasia at NZ$105 for 29km ($3.62/km). The cheapest airport transfer of the 17 cities surveyed was Barcelona Airport in Spain at NZ$2.92/km.

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Blue Star Taxis Christchurch general manager Bob Wilkinson said the survey did not allow for comparisons of taxi costs on the whole because airport fees were involved.

Set costs imposed on taxi drivers at airports such as pick-up and drop-off fees varied considerably from city to city and were diluted more or less depending on the distances to the central city, Wilkinson said.

- The Mirror

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