She caught a taxi to her hotel 10 kilometres away. During the trip, she saw the meter was running.
“When we pulled up at the hotel, I saw the meter was off and the driver said it was $50,” she said.
“I said that was ridiculous and told him to show me the final meter reading. I challenged him as to why he had turned the meter off and he then said I owed him $45.”
Ms Dunstan said the driver’s behaviour was “outrageous” and tried to get his identification number, which he refused.
“It was 10.30pm, I was on my own and I thought: ‘Bastard’,” she said.
Ms Dunstan paid the $45 and lodged a complaint with the taxi service the same night.
She had not received a response from 13cabs until Monday, which coincided with The Courier-Mail contacting the company.
13cabs apologised and said her fare should have been $35. They offered her a $10 refund and $50 cab voucher.
A 13cabs spokesman said drivers were not allowed to work off the meter or ask for cash payments above the metered rate, and those who did faced disciplinary action.
The spokesman said 13cabs had raised the issue with the state government and believed drivers were frustrated by the lack of regulation on rideshare services.
“Taxi drivers often sit and watch rideshare drivers charge vastly more than them for the same service with half the costs faced by taxi drivers,” he said.
“The Queensland Government still regulates the equipment a taxi must contain and the price a taxi can charge – while not regulating what a rideshare driver can charge.
“This is inherently unfair. It means that the service with higher costs imposed upon it by regulation charges less than a service with less cost and safety conditions imposed on it.”
The Courier-Mail has heard from others who caught cabs at Brisbane’s international and domestic terminals, only to have the driver refuse to use the meter and demand inflated fares.
Taxi Council Queensland chief executive Blair Davies said only “a few bad eggs” in the industry were price gouging.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads said it had received an increasing number of complaints on the issue, and “various compliance investigations” were already underway.
Passengers can report dodgy cab drivers through TMR by calling 13 12 30 or emailing email@example.com.
Providing the driver’s authorisation number, vehicle number plate, time and location of the fare, and taxi company will help TMR take action.
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