New airport taxi system aims to drop price for passengers

New airport taxi system aims to drop price for passengers

Decades-old monopoly to be replaced with arrangement in which all cabs can collect arriving travelers

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: Line of taxis waiting for passengers (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Illustrative: Line of taxis waiting for passengers (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

The cost of taxi rides to and from Israel’s main international airport are set to drop as authorities prepare to initiate a new system that will enable all cabbies to collect passengers from terminals, doing away with a 40-year monopoly.

Six months of negotiations yielded an agreement between the finance and transportation ministries, along with the Israel Airports Authority, for the new system at Ben Gurion Airport.

Under the deal, a tender will be issued for a cab company to act as a central coordinator for all taxi operators to serve the airport. That main operator will also be required to develop an app that will enable the ordering of rides ahead of time.

For the past four decades, the only company allowed to operate taxi services from the arrivals area has been the Hadar-Lod taxi company.

While other companies could bring travelers to the airport, their drivers were not permitted to pick up fares heading in the opposite direction. As a result, some 70 percent of the taxis leaving the airport are empty because they don’t belong to the Hadar-Lod company. Taxi drivers have been forced to hike their prices to cover the cost of making one-way trips to the airport.

In addition, Hadar-Lod was required to pay royalties to the airport to run its services as well as a NIS 5 surcharge for each journey. Those costs were translated into hike in taxi fares.

Yoram Shapira, the deputy director of commerce and business development at the IAA, estimated that the planned changes could mean a 10-20% difference on fares, a saving of NIS 15-30 ($4-8) in each direction, Channel 2 reported. The airport will still get NIS 5 for each journey from the airfield, but the operator will no longer be required to pay the heavy royalties currently in place.

A journey from the airport to Jerusalem currently costs a family with two children NIS 248 ($68), whereas after the reform it will cost around NIS 174 (48$), Shapira predicted.

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