The Essential Services Commission (ESC) decided today to increase the maximum fare for “unreserved” taxis, such as those hailed from the street or taken from a rank, by 11.2 percent .
The fare change works out to about an extra $1.50 for a three-kilometre ride in Melbourne’s central business district, or $5.60 to travel from the CBD to the international airport.
It is the first time the ESC has raised the top fare since 2014, citing higher gas prices and a general lack of drivers on the road.
“Our review indicates running and operating costs have increased by 11.2 per cent, and the top fare is increasing by the same amount to help keep unreserved taxis on the road,” said ESC Pricing Director Marcus Crudden.
“Carriers are grappling with significantly higher fuel prices and a driver shortage in the face of recovering demand, so the rate decision takes those issues into account to help ensure service is available.
“One of the main objectives of the commission is to promote the long-term interests of Victorian consumers and that includes being able to hail a taxi when needed.”
The decision does not include taxi services that are booked online, through an app or by phone, which are outside of ESC regulation.
Crudden said raising fares would not “solve” the shortage of taxi drivers, but could attract newcomers to the profession.
“We listened to views raised at stakeholder meetings and a public forum, and the vast majority of comments were supportive when our draft decision proposed increasing the maximum rate,” he said.
In a separate decision, the ESC kept the maximum surcharge for non-cash payments in taxis at 4 percent, while Cabcharge payment instruments will continue to attract a 6 percent surcharge.
The higher rates will take effect from September 15 this year.
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