Some taxi passengers charged twice what normal fare should be by unmetered cars

Some taxi passengers say they're being ripped off by unmetered taxis charging excessive fares. 

Taxis are no longer required to have fare meters, and there are claims some drivers are taking advantage of that by charging people twice what a normal fare should be.

Normally a trip from the Wellington Ferry Terminal to Island Bay would cost Caroline Cullen $40, but her latest trip was far more than that.

"I literally jumped into the first taxi that was there at the ferry stand. So I jumped into it. [I] never thought anything about it and they didn't have a meter on and so by the time we got here it was like $60," Cullen told Newshub.

Her case isn't isolated.

One Wellington man had to pay $80 to get from the airport to his home in an unmetered taxi - a journey that normally costs less than $40.

Meanwhile in Auckland, a couple were charged $40 for just a 500m trip.

Dave Clyma, chair of Wellington Combined Taxis, told Newshub when the Government changed the rules to accommodate rideshare services in 2017, it turned the passenger service sector into the Wild West.

"They gave the option to the taxis that they could either have a [fare] meter with a fare schedule, or they could just have no meter at all and negotiate the price," he said.

The problem is that some drivers aren't negotiating the price, but rather announcing it at the end of the trip.

A spokesperson from Wellington Airport said while they do require all taxis at the airport to have a fare meter, they're aware of some cases slipping through the cracks.

Digital taxi screens will be installed to ensure passengers are aware of the costs before hopping in, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, Kiritaki/Consumer is encouraging passengers to ask about the fare upfront.

"So whether that's what the fare is going to be, or how it's going to be calculated - so basically there shouldn't be any nasty surprises," said campaigns manager Jessica Walker.

Wellington Combined Taxis said it has fare meters in all its cabs and it wants the Government to reintroduce rules requiring all taxis to do the same.

Walker suggested passengers write down the taxi's name and number, in case they want to lodge a complaint later.