Customers are likely to pay more for a taxi from Melbourne Airport after changes that may see taxi rank fees more than double.
Melbourne Airport has told the Taxi Services Commission it plans to raise cab rank fees from $1.20 to $2.45 to cover "increasing infrastructure and operational costs". The total fee is expected to surge to $3.40.
At present, passengers are charged $2 for being picked up from the airport, which includes the $1.20 kept by the airport, and a 68¢ driver handling fee.
Melbourne Airport spokeswoman Carly Dixon said the airport was seeking to pass the costs of the increase through to the passenger.
She said that after the fee rise, the airport would pocket $2.45 and the driver handling fee would increase to 70 cents.
She said the current $2 charge had not risen for 11 years, and the changes were being made so the airport could continue to provide customers with a quality service and facilities.
"We have a very large holding area for taxis – we hold about 600 – as well as providing toilets, a cafe, a prayer room and a traffic management team that manages the taxi rank areas," she said.
Melbourne Airport plans to increase the fee at the same time as a new taxi fare structure being considered by the state government.
Victorian Taxi Association spokeswoman Georgia Nicholls said she could not comment until a decision was made.
"Nothing is set in stone at this stage, but it's a possibility," she said. "We might even see a completely new model to how taxi fares are charged."
The proposed taxi rank fee increase comes soon after Australia's consumer watchdog slammed Melbourne Airport over the cost of parking, which is higher than at any other Australian airport.
Taxi Services Commission chair Graeme Samuel said the airport was a "monopoly" that "charges what it likes".
"There's nothing the Victorian government can do about this – the airport charges what it likes for car parking, for taxi fares and whatever else," he said.
The commission regulates the taxi and hire-care industry.
Mr Samuel said passengers would not necessarily object to fee hikes if Melbourne Airport provided customers with a good service.
"I don't think taxi passengers would object to a fee increase if they didn't have to stand for long hours waiting for a cab, or if they were given advice or some kind of assistance when taking a taxi."
He said that other states and overseas cities provided passengers with a taxi marshal to assist people with cabs, in addition to handing out slips of paper that include a fare estimate and information about what to do if there is a problem.
"We have prepared these slips for the Melbourne Airport to give to passengers, but I can't get it to hand it out," Mr Samuel said.