In a completely unsurprising revelation, it’s really expensive to get a taxi from the airport.
Catching a cab downtown from Auckland Airport has been labelled one of the most expensive taxi fares in the world by an international travel company.
According to a CheapFlights comparison of prices in 24 cities, New Zealand has the third most expensive per-kilometre taxi fares.
And a Herald investigation has found some Auckland taxi companies quoting price tags up to $86 for a trip — more than the price of some domestic flights — that other companies can deliver for just $35.
The report, released last month but based on data from March 2013, found the average price of travelling the 21.4km route from Auckland Airport to the city’s CBD was $77.41 — or $3.50/km.
The New Zealand price was surpassed only by fares in Berlin that were $4.06/km, and San Jose in Costa Rica that were $3.59/km.
Auckland cabs were 10 times more expensive than in the cheapest city, Buenos Aires, and twice the $1.75/km people using Australian taxis were paying.
Consumer NZ chief executive Suzanne Chetwin said the survey results confirmed anecdotes about the ever-increasing cost of Auckland’s airport journey. “[The survey] just confirms that it is very expensive to get to or from Auckland Airport and it just seems to have got dramatically more expensive over the last few years.”
The herald then goes on to do its own brief survey finding prices varying from between $35 to $86 followed by quotes from the companies involved each trying to throw dirt at each other.
The Herald did check out the cost of the Airbus though which compares extremely well at $16 compared to the taxis. What isn’t mentioned (but that’s important) is that in peak times those buses also get to use the bus lanes where they exist which has the potential to make the journey not just cheaper but faster too.
For getting to the CBD what the Herald didn’t mention is that there’s an even cheaper option than this though. The CBD can be reached through a combination of the 380 Airporter bus and a train from Papatoetoe for a total of $7.60 if HOP is used – $3.06 for the 380 to Papatoetoe followed by $5.04 for the trip to town on the train along minus a 50c transfer discount. Oddly this option while advertised on this page, doesn’t show up as an option on AT’s journey planner (which is probably why they didn’t look at it). The big problem with the 380 Airporter service though is its frequency which is a lousy 30 minutes at peak times and hourly off peak or on weekends.
In the next few years the bus and train option is likely to become more attractive with the new network delivering higher bus frequencies between the Airport and Papatoetoe along with electric trains providing and faster and better quality trains from Papatoetoe to the CBD. Integrated fares *should* also bring down the price by removing the penalty for taking multiple trips.
Of course longer term the ultimate goal is to have rail directly to the airport which would give a quick one seat ride all the way from the heart of the CBD (via the CRL) to the airport. Once that’s in place the trip will faster than a taxi at any time of the day and considerably cheaper too (assuming it’s priced the same as normal PT and not with added terminal fees on top). Add in features like WiFi and I think even business travellers would consider using it over taxis. It would require the Airport to stop pretending it likes the idea of a rail connection though.