Taxi Fares and 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>


Recently I took a taxi from Charles Kingsford Smith airport to my home in east Sydney.

Usually this costs $44 to $60 depending on traffic.

When I took the taxi last week there was no traffic. It was mid afternoon in a weekend. The driver asked me what way to go and I told him, but he went a very long way.

The bill came to $80. I paid cash and demanded a receipt, which I got. I was exhausted and complained that I could not see the meter. How could I? The driver has a phone mounted right in front of i

I complained that the fare was unreasonable and afterwards called a radio station lining up the story if I don’t get a decent reimbursement from the taxi company.

The company finally agreed to $20 reimbursement.
But they want my bank details. I don’t want to give them that, given that bank details for those in the know, is one stop closer to identity theft. So what are my options? Can they insist on one method of refunds?

What are my rights?
By the way the company “GM cabs” has so many negative reviews online, with many having the same experience that I had…

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Topic Title Updated to include broader content on taxi fares.

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A good place to start is with the NSW Government which regulates Taxis including operation from ranks, and the NSW Taxi Council.

Who to contact for assistance.

For issues concerning any refunds contact NSW Fair Trading as advised by Transport NSW.
Point to point transport feedback |

Not the only complaint.
Calls for streamlined taxi complaints system as passengers report more drivers refusing to use meter - ABC News

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Mark, many thanks for the great advice!
I think I’ll first ask GM to provide the refund in another way eg cheque or gift card. If they do that, I’ll close the matter. If not, then I’ll reject a pmt into my a/c do my best to broadcast their bad behaviour to those agencies you listed.

What is interesting is that the negative online reviewers, as far as I could see, did little beyond complain. They mostly didn’t seek a refund or complain to a regulator. I think that is emblematic of a situation where the public doesn’t know how or where to complain.

Consider also the option of using PayID (‘ to receive payment. Most banks now support making and receiving payments using PayID through their online services or Bank Apps. The only details that you need to provide are your name and PayID number. No need to expose your personal account details to the other party.

The CBA has one explanation of how they deliver the facility. Each participating bank provides links to similar content.

They can if you want a refund.

Many businesses don’t use cheques any more and many won’t buy gift cards to give to someone instead of a cash refund.

If a refund to a bank account is their preferred or only method of refund, then there will be little you can do. If you don’t provide your bank details, you won’t get a refund.

Thanks for the suggestion.
Before looking at the CBA link you posted, I looked into payID website, which was not very useful.
The key query I had ie. can my a/c details be accessed by the payer (to a payID customer)
was not addressed (at least as far as I could see).

But it is on the CBA website you mentioned

  • Can my account be accessed through my PayID?

A PayID can only be used to pay money into your account, never take money out. Your actual account details will not be visible during the payment process.

This is reassuring, if it is the case in 100% of pmts.

As I understand it, if they have my name, mobile and a/c details, they are en route to, if they choose, committing identity fraud.
Why should I be forced to reveal my a/c details when this is not a refund per se, it is a redress of overcharging and a driver who ignored my instructions as to which route to take.
I think the countless negative reviews online show the firm in question is engaging in such behaviour on a regular basis.

I don’t see that what we call the transaction makes any difference to if or how you are entitled to monetary recompense, it has been offered for whatever reason and you need to decide if you will take it.

The prospect of coercing the company into doing it your way and getting all you want is not at all good. The chance of getting all you want without investing much more time and effort in the project is zero in my view.

You can be dissatisfied with the outcome and get $20 or be dissatisfied with the outcome and not get $20.


From the Cambridge dictionary regarding the word “refund” is this definition

" refund noun [ C ]

uk /ˈriːfʌnd/ us


an amount of money that is given back to you, especially because you have paid too much, or you are not happy with a product or service"

The Collins dictionary defines the refund noun as

"A refund is a sum of money which is returned to you, for example because you have paid too much or because you have returned goods to a shop.

Synonyms: repayment, compensation, rebate, reparation"


What is a Refund?

A refund is a repayment of funds from the original payee to the original payer. It can be caused by returned goods, an overbilling, or an excess tax payment. These scenarios are noted below.

Returned Goods Refund

Refunds most commonly occur in standard sales transactions, when a customer returns goods to the seller and receives a refund at that time. The refund may be in the form of cash or a credit that can be used for the purchase of other goods from the seller.

Overbilling Refund

A refund may also be paid when the seller originally invoiced an excessive amount to the buyer. In this case, the amount of the overage is paid back, and the customer retains possession of the goods that were originally acquired."

So yes, it is a refund.

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More and more replies to problems raised on this website (including mine) seem to be answered by advocates for vendors be they taxis, airlines or banks, rather than other consumers. At least that’s how I have experienced my time here.

Your suggestion that I should be happy with the mode of refund offered misses the big story: the taxi engaged in what to me is fraud.

(1) A meter was never visible to me. Notwithstanding I twice asked to see it, it was not shown. Who is to say it was not started before I got into the taxi? It was also NOT shown to me when I arrived home;
(2) I was asked what route to take. The driver ignored my request;
(3) UBER - I found out later - indicated the cost would have been just under $44
(4) Previous taxi ride cost me $59 and that was WITH traffic. There was no traffic mid afternoon on a Sunday;
(5) Sydney Airport advises a fare of $45 to $55 to the city, see Taxi & Rideshare info for Sydney Airport

I live a few minutes from the city, so add say $5 or $7
(6) I was charged $80

I will not reveal my a/c details to a company that has only negative comments made on it on, but will insist on a different means of reimbursement - I will take mark_m’s recommendation of PayID (assuming only my name and not a/c details are visible to the payer (this is not clarified on Wespac’s website while it is on the CBA’s website) before taking the matter further and asking the Taxi Council what if anything they plan to do about such behaviour?

Point(s) taken.

I am not ‘for’ anybody, I give sound assessment and advice to the best of my ability. Over the years I have not seen any bias from the regular respondents against the consumer, quite the reverse, that doesn’t mean those regulars have to agree with every detail of every complaint. If I was ‘for’ you it would make no difference at all to how you are treated by the taxi company.

I said no such thing, on the contrary, I said that you would not be happy under any circumstances.

And there is very little you can do about that now. It may well be the big story but other than make it public, which you have done, you have no further recourse.

You may not believe me but in suggesting that you ought to let this one go I am actually trying to be helpful to you not advocating for the company.

I am not sure when your previous travel occurred, if always on a Sunday or if the dates and times varied.

Sundays have the Holiday Distance rate applied and this may increase the expected bill

“Holiday Distance Rate: $2.81 per kilometre for the first 12 kilometres and $3.85 per
kilometre thereafter”

That does not excuse the driver taking a different route to what the customer requested, as far as I understand this is against the “rules”. If the route requested by the passenger is more costly, the driver is allowed to question the change. If the passenger insists then unless there is a valid reason eg roadblocks on the route, then the route should be taken. This would apply equally to a shorter route requested by the passenger.

"As a taxi customer you:

**have the right to decide on the route you’d like to take**
must pay the correct fare, including tolls and charges that apply
**must be able to see the fare calculation device and the driver's identity document**
must wear a seat belt at all times
must not smoke in the taxi
must not soil or damage the vehicle
must not use offensive language or act in an offensive way, or intentionally interfere with the comfort or safety of others
may refuse multiple hiring
should not ask the driver to stop when it is illegal or unsafe to do so
may ask the driver to provide you with a copy of the taxi fare structure"

The taxi company has made an offer of a refund, whether that is Ex Gratia or if they accept the that the payment was excessive makes little difference to you as the passenger. They however would be obliged to maintain your privacy rights and if fraud was committed by the company using your details, they would be in breach of the law and you would have rights to seek redress. Using UBER or any other service would place you in exactly the same risk level, you provide many private and sensitive details to use these services including payment methods. I think it is just a matter of which “poison” you choose to use. If you feel the company is unethical then as linked by @mark_m above, you can make a complaint to NSW Transport outlining your reasons.

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