"premium" cabs at airport taxi rank

Just returned home from the airport, using the cab that was assigned to me in the queue, which was a London Cab Company car. The fare ended up being $90 for what is usually a $50 ride. When I questioned the driver, he told me that as a “black cab”, they charge a higher rate, plus they have a Friday night surcharge.

Surely passengers should be told about this before getting in the cab. Or the airport shouldn’t allow premium cabs in the general queue. Everyone catching a cab from the airport just hops in the car they are assigned in the queue - hardly informed consent!

I’ll be complaining to the cab company, but also wonder if the airport should take some responsibility?


Sorry I hadn’t heard of this company before, are they a Hire Car (HC) service?. Was it the Kingsford Smith airport?

If in Qld you are at a rank awaiting a cab and say a Silver Service is waiting there and offers you their service then they can only charge normal Taxi rates and not the added “Silver Service” rate.

In NSW they do have similar laws and from the NSW Transport Dept is this:

" Fares for a taxi caught from a taxi rank or hailed from the street are regulated by the government. The Transport for NSW fares order sets the maximum fare components such as flag fall, distance rates, peak time charge and waiting time. This means that taxi service providers and drivers are not allowed to charge anyone who catches a taxi from a taxi rank, or who hails a taxi from the street, more than the maximum fare, unless you are travelling out of the taxi service provider’s area of operation.

Taxi service providers must set fares for rank and hail services provided in the taxis that make up their service. These fares cannot exceed the maximum authorised fare set out in the fares order.

The information about a taxi service provider’s fares will be displayed in the vehicle for your reference. You may request that the driver show you if you cannot locate the display in the taxi. Taxi service providers are also required to maintain information about the fares and charges on their website (if they have one).

The information to be displayed includes:

  • fares
  • any additional tolls, fees and charges, and
  • any differential pricing that may apply to journeys such as those taken at night or on public holidays

The driver may charge you less than the maximum fare if they choose to do so. Once the rank and hail trip has commenced, a visible fare calculation device (such as a meter) must be turned on and running during your trip.

Rank and hail taxi fares are treated differently to booked fares. This is because unlike when booking a service, you do not have the luxury of time to review the rates and shop around to compare fares when hailing a taxi on the street or catching one from a taxi rank. For this reason, the NSW Government believes the regulation of rank and hail taxi fares is an important mechanism to protect customers from being charged excessive fares."

And in regard to this Maximum rate the Secretary of the Department of Transport (NSW) determination states the Maximum Authorised Fare (as at 24/01/2018) is comprised of for Urban Areas:

"The maximum fares and other arrangements payable in relation to a taxi service that commences, or is provided, in an Urban Area are as set out in this clause.

Hiring Charge: $3.60
Peak Time Hiring Charge: $2.50
Distance Rate: $2.19 per kilometre
Night Distance Rate: $2.63 per kilometre
Waiting Time: 94.4 cents per minute ($56.68 per hour)"

The definition of Peak Time and Public Holiday are as follows:

"‘Peak Time Hiring Charge’ means a fixed surcharge, payable in addition to the Hiring Charge, for the hiring of a taxi that commences, or is provided in an Urban Area in respect of a journey commencing between 10pm on a Friday, Saturday or day before a Public Holiday and 6am on the next day.

‘Public Holiday’ means a day specified in section 4 of the Public Holidays Act 2010, any day specified by the Minister administering that Act as an additional public holiday in accordance with section 5 of that Act, or any day specified by the Minister administering that Act as a substituted day in accordance with section 6 of that Act."

In Urban areas there is no additional rate mentioned for Public Holidays.

If they are a Hire Car and not a Taxi service then NSW Transport have a document that indicates Sydney Airport Corporation have allowed HC vehicles to use prearranged pick up areas of the Airport while finalising a longer term solution:

"Access to the Sydney Airport Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (who controls who can access parts of the airport, including the prearranged can pick up areas) has advised that while a longer term solution is finalised, HC-plated vehicles will still be permitted into the pre-arranged pick up area of the airport.

Advertisements in or on hire cars Hire cars in metro Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and Central Coast can advertise their brand on their licensed hire car. But they may not infer they are offering a taxi service.

For hire cars providing services in rural NSW, that is, outside of Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Central Coast, there are further restrictions advertising. As is the case now, the driver, operator or licensee of a hire car must not display, affix or install, or cause or permit another person to display, affix or install, any service advertisement within or on the outside of the vehicle".

On their Website, London Taxis multiple times use the term or infer that they are a ‘taxi service’ which may be a contravention of the Transport Act as it is referenced in the above that “they may not infer they are offering a taxi service” and as an example I have snipped this from the website:

A complaint to the NSW Transport Dept may also yield some benefit based on the various times they say they are taxis.


Some operators depend on pax in the airport queues as having gotten off a plane, possibly a long haul, and just want to get home, and don’t know, don’t notice, or don’t care about any of the laws or what is posted in or on the taxi/HC because Australian business from bottom to top is usually regulated so softly an apology is usually more than sufficient to make ‘it go away’ if reported. Worst is usually a blemish in a file folder somewhere.

That being written taxi behaviour is a universal problem. While this site makes money by booking everything from HCs to whatever, they have standard advice worth reading re taxis.

So true if one had the presence to get all the relevant details required for a report. Sometimes reporting bad behaviour becomes difficult to impossible because it is purposefully made that way to weed out the merely aggrieved or PO’d and only entertain those with the most serious well documented issues.


If you care to share the details, we’d be interested to know how your complaint proceeds @atang2048.


I’d be happy to pay a small premium, especially in Melbourne and Sydney, to have a premium cab - the premium features could include such things as driver geographical awareness, ability to control a vehicle in a safe manner, competency in communication …


Not unique to the big two. Brisbane is just as challenging, although surprisingly many of the newer cabbies have been in the job for years. A subtle conversation can be very revealing. I don’t mind where the cabbie was born, it is always interesting to here others stories rather than share mine with the cabbie.

Perhaps there is another factor in ‘being taken for a ride’?

Recent experience in the regional cities and towns in Queensland is very different. A premium service might be that there is a cab? Once the mythical transport service arrives the options for the shortest route are usually very obvious! :grin:

It is always enlightening to hear of the trials and tribulations of being part of the 40% of Aussies living in Sydney and Melb. If the nation can’t get it right first time for that 40% what hope is there for the rest of us minnows? Go Choice! <insert cheering, not sarcasm>