The state’s peak taxi body has revealed that Mackay Airport wants to charge taxi customers a new drop off fee, and that Cairns Airport will likely be next.
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) has joined with local taxi operators to oppose the move by North Queensland Airports to charge taxis between $2 and $3.50 every time they drop off a customer.
Taxis already pay a fee when they pick up from both airports.
TCQ chief executive officer Benjamin Wash says the latest move is a “blatant grab for revenue which will be paid for by locals and tourists”.
“Unlike picking up passengers, where the airport provides some form of infrastructure, there is no extra cost to the airport for a taxi to drop off a passenger.
“Taxi operators are upset that they are being asked to do the airport’s dirty work and believe that – like all third-party tolls and charges - it will make our fares appear higher.
“If the airport wants to slug customers, they should find another way of doing it, rather than hiding behind taxis. It’s their tax and they can answer for it,” he declared.
Mr Wash believes the airports have a longer term plan to also charge private cars a drop off fee.
“The CEO of North Queensland Airports comes from an airport in Scotland where all vehicles pay, so this may be their plan.
While the fee has only been officially announced for Mackay, North Queensland Airports Group – which operates both Mackay and Cairns airports – has indicated it will roll out the fee in Cairns.
He said the fee could also force taxi companies to make changes to its computer systems and incur other costs, potentially putting upward pressure on taxi fares.
“Everyone loses except the airport. I don’t see this as fair to the people of North Queensland.”