No more Melbourne taxi scams: New rules prevent drivers from jacking up prices

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No more Melbourne taxi scams: New rules prevent drivers from jacking up prices

taxi melbourne
words by staff writer

The Victorian government is cracking down on taxi price hikes.

Have you ever woken up with a pounding headache and noticed you were charged a whopping $75 for your 20-minute cab ride home?

If so, it probably had something to do with a fare regulation loophole that let drivers negotiate ride prices, especially at peak times (like late at night on weekends and after big events). This meant if your phone was dead and you needed to get home, you’d either have to brave the walk or pay a cab driver whatever he demanded.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

Well, good news for us passenger princesses: the Victorian government has announced that this bartering system will soon be a thing of the past. Melbourne taxi drivers will soon be required to use the meters when they are flagged down or picked up from a taxi rank.

“We’re making sure the rules are clear and that people travelling by rank and hail taxis will get to where they need to go without frustrating price hikes,” says the Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll.

The new regulations will go into effect on September 28, just as the city gears up for a massive season of festivals and events, and will apply to all unbooked rides.

Although the public has long been frustrated by taxi price gouging, the matter found itself in the spotlight during the 2022 Australian Open in January when tennis fans were met with turbulent scenes when trying to leave the stadium. Reports of long lines, fights over prices and drivers refusing to take passengers where they wanted to go prompted outrage.

The government says the updated regulations are based on feedback from drivers, rides and booking services on how to improve taxi services.

“These changes will improve taxi services for Victorians – giving passengers certainty they can get home safely, especially during busy major events,” says Carroll.

To calculate your Melbourne taxi fee, head here.