Travel Agents Come to the Defense of GetTaxi

Web and mobile-based cab ordering service banned from Ben-Gurion Airport after undercutting monopolistic rival.

Eran Lanun

The Israel Tourist and Travel Agents Association has come to the defense of GetTaxi, the web- and mobile device-based cab ordering service. The Israeli taxi firm has been barred from picking up arriving passengers from Ben-Gurion International Airport since Tuesday, when the Israel Airports Authority issued an order barring GetTaxi from picking up passengers, although the service is still available for passengers taking cabs to the airport.

In their message of support for the cab firm, the ITTAA expressed concern over the measures taken against GetTaxi, saying that they would perpetuate what it called the “clearly high taxi rates” charged those travelers arriving at the airport. “The development is nothing other than the product of the monopoly on entry into the country,” the travel agents’ group stated, referring to the exclusive concession given to the Hadar taxi company in picking up passengers who have not ordered cabs and instead hail a taxi at an airport cab stand.

On Tuesday, GetTaxi’s customers received notice that they could no longer order taxis from Ben-Gurion Airport, although it would not apply to trips to the airport near Tel Aviv. In its statement, the ITTAA implied that the Airports Authority was improperly coming to the defense of the Hadar cab company, even though Hadar charges higher rates than GetTaxi does. As far back as 2012, the travel agents asked for the transportation minister to intervene, claiming that arriving passengers pay 30% to 50% more for their cab rides from Ben-Gurion Airport than they do for taxi fare to the airport.

For its part, however, the Airports Authority said the restraining order against GetTaxi was issued based on the law governing public tenders, transportation regulations and rules that apply to the Airports Authority itself. The order followed a hearing, the authority said, and will apply to all those drivers who fail to abide by the regulations.