Deal to Dramatically Cut Cab Fares From Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport Falls Apart at Last Minute

Tender for new airport taxi service falls apart, but path cleared for all taxis to vie for travelers at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport

Taxis wait outside Israel's Ben Gurion Airport.
Tomer Appelbaum

The plan to dramatically reduce taxi prices at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport fell apart after last-minute drama saw one of the firms operating an exclusive tender to run cabs from the airport withdraw, Israel's airport authority announced on Sunday. The plan's collapse means all Israeli taxis will be allowed to take travelers from the airport starting Monday.

Any taxi that wants to service the airport can now register to do so and travelers will pay a five-shekel (about $1.40) addition for taxis taken directly from the airport. Fares will be identical to those used throughout Israel, and will not be significantly lower, as the tender had initially called for.

The news comes after one of the firms that won a new tender to operate cabs at the airport at significantly lower prices withdrew following massive pressure from its drivers.

The Hadar-Lod taxi company's stockholders, who initially won the bid with the taxi-hailing app Gett, pulled out late Saturday after its drivers protested and pressured management in a move now under scrutiny by Israel's anti-trust authority.

The joint bid proposed offering rates that were 31 percent lower than the maximum price for a ride per the Transportation Ministry price list. The winning bid was the only one submitted.

However, following late night negotiations within Hadar, the company decided to pull out of the bid, clearing the way for the airport authority to open the airport to all of Israel's taxis at a regular fare, and not the cheaper one agreed on as part of the tender.

In addition, the Israel Airports Authority will offer free buses at high-traffic hours, when taxis are often in short supply.