All registered taxis in Israel are now permitted to pick up travelers from Ben-Gurion International Airport, after the state’s long-term contract granting taxi station Hadar-Lod exclusivity was not renewed.
But what does this mean for consumers? It’s not clear that more competition will mean lower prices.
Hadar-Lod had initially bid to renew the tender in partnership with taxi-hailing app Gett, and had offered a 31% discount on current rates. Yet drivers protested, ultimately forcing Hadar to renege on its offer.
In response, the state opened up airport transit to all registered taxis until new bids are submitted. The Israel Airports Authority expects to have a registered taxi station operating at the airport again within a few months.
In the meantime, the Airports Authority will be responsible for dispatching and overseeing taxis – in place of Hadar-Lod – and is considering hiring some Hadar-Lod employees.
The airport’s taxi service transports more than 1 million passengers a year.
Not having a registered taxi station at the airport raises concerns that there may not be enough taxis during times of peak demand.
The Airports Authority has said that during times of intense demand, it will operate free shuttles to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Rishon Letzion, and possibly other destinations should the need arrive.
However, the authority predicts that it will not have to do so, because it expects there will generally be enough taxis and it does not intend to operate a regularly scheduled shuttle service.
In addition, passengers are free to order taxis through ride-hailing apps such as Gett, Uber and Rider.
In the meantime, taxi rates are not expected to drop: consumers will not be seeing the 31% discount that Gett and Hadar had initially proposed. Instead, taxis will be working based on the existing price list.
A ride from the airport to Tel Aviv during weekday daytime hours will cost about 130 shekels; a ride to Jerusalem 250 shekels, and to Haifa 500 shekels.
Rides departing Ben-Gurion International Airport are more expensive than in other parts of the country, partly due to the fee the Airports Authority charges drivers for each ride.
Any discount will come only after a new bid winner is announced, and it is likely to be less than the 31% initially proposed.
The chaos at the airport over the past few days, while Hadar-Lod drivers were on strike, has raised concerns that unscrupulous drivers will take advantage of a lack of oversight in order to charge inflated prices, particularly from foreign tourists.
Meanwhile, travelers with cars are still able to pay to park at Ben-Gurion airport.
Parking costs 40-80 shekels a day, and is mostly worthwhile for those coming from far away, or those who are only going abroad for a short time.
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