Council calls for a drop in Taxi Fare

05/01/2016 11:17

With the new 9 per cent VAT rate in effect, the Consumer Council of Fiji is calling for a drop in the taxi fare. This call is made after receiving concerns from the general public and some businesses that use taxi services that charge VAT.

The Council fails to understand why taxi operators who charge VAT inclusive fare have not made timely adjustments to their fares. Currently, taxi operators fall in two groups – either they charge VAT Inclusive fare (VIP) or VAT Exclusive fare (VEP).

Taxi operators who are registered with FRCA for VAT purposes and have more than $100,000 annual turnover, charge VIP fare while those taxi companies which are not registered with FRCA are charging VEP fares.

According to LTA website (http://www.ltafiji.com/services_infopsv_conduct.php), there are two types of fares:

  • VAT INCLUSIVE TAXIS (VIP):

1.     Flag fall - $1.50

2.     For the first or part of first 200 meters after flag fall – $0.30 (30 Cents) increase

3.      For each or part of every other 200 meters after the first 200 meters- $0.11 (11 cents) increase

  • VAT EXCLUSIVE TAXIS [VEP]:

1.     Flag fall- $1.50

2.     For the first or part 200 meters after flag fall- $0.10 (10 cent) increase 

3.     For each or part of every other 200 meters after the first 200 meters – $0.10 (10 cents) increase

  • Night Flag fall – starts at $2 which remain same for VIP and VEP taxis.

All taxi operators who charge VAT inclusive fare have no choice but to do the right thing by reducing the fare to match the VAT reduction from 15 per cent to 9 per cent. We expect LTA to supervise this as they did for bus fares.

The Council’s timely demand for a reduction in the taxi fare should not stir a storm within the taxi industry as the call is in line with the major taxation reform underway in the country and the recent drop in the world fuel price also justifies the reduction in the taxi fare.

It is also worth noting that in the past, the Ministry of Transport had granted the fare increase for taxi services with certain conditions which included ongoing training for taxi operators on customer service or behaving properly with customers and general maintenance of their vehicles. Unfortunately, both locals and some tourists continue to raise concerns over the general condition of some taxis and the attitude of some taxi operators who are rude to passengers, refuse patrons desiring short runs, not having adequate change and not switching on their taxi meters with intention to siphon extra money from passengers.

The Council, however, warns the taxi operators who are not registered with FRCA for VAT purposes, should not take advantage of the new 9 per cent VAT to pocket extra dollars from the commuters under the pretext that they have to now charge VAT Inclusive Price.

The Council remains optimistic that good sense will prevail and the Taxi operators who have been charging VAT Inclusive Price will comply with the law and adjust the price.