Ben Gurion Officials to Crack Down on ‘Taxi Fraud’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Taxis from the Hadar Company seen at Ben Gurion Airport. (Flash90)

Not all taxis are allowed to seek passengers at Ben Gurion Airport, and now, at the height of the travel season, airport officials intend to put an end to the phenomenon of unauthorized drivers picking up passengers. More patrols of the airport’s highways and byways will be instituted, and any unauthorized taxi driver who attempts to pick up passengers will be “severely punished,” officials told Channel Ten.

Passengers who land at Ben Gurion seeking a taxi are instructed to exit the terminal building and get on line at the taxi queue, where drivers in turn take each party to their destination at a set price. However, those are not the only taxis at the airport; taxis that drop off passengers sometimes seek customers for the way back, and have been known to hail passengers and offer them rides.

Especially popular are foreign tourists, who are unaware of the queue system and unfamiliar with how much a taxi ride should cost. Last week, a taxi driver who picked up a group of European tourists charged them over NIS 1,000 for a trip to Tel Aviv (a ride that should cost about NIS 150). The story leaked to the press, with police contacting the driver and threatening to charge him with fraud. He has since returned the money to the tourists. According to airport officials, the driver had been riding around the airport looking for people who looked “lost,” with the intention of taking them to their destination at inflated prices.

Officials told Channel Ten that this was not the first incident of “taxi fraud,” and that they intended to put a stop to the problem using technology and other means, including videotaping the entry and exit of taxis to the airport and ensuring that the taxis that are not authorized to take passengers out of the airport have no passengers when they leave.