In 2016, the Czech Aeroholding (Prague Airport Service Organization) concluded an exclusive contract with two taxi companies – Fix Taxi and Taxi Prague (Tick Tack). The airport tried to provide visitors with good service – Prague taxi drivers have such a “good” reputation in the world that you can only read the “best” about their services on many web portals and in the press.
Tourists complained about prices and let’s say honestly – if someone requests two thousand crowns to drive from the airport to the center, it won’t please you. This was precisely what the exclusive contract with the new providers should have prevented. There are both entry and per kilometer fixed rates.
Fees are up to three times more expensive than London
New taxis adhere to these prices, but the customer still gets scams. The secret lies in an inconspicuous item called a service charge. It is 10 EUR at Prague Airport. By comparison, it is £ 2.80 for Heathrow in London, € 0.5/person in Malta, so you would pay around CZK 100 for a fully fitted car. Not so in Prague. The fee that the customer pays is absolutely set by the companies, and Prague Airport is looking the other way, stating that it is a responsibility of the tenants. They fulfill their obligations to the airport, and they are off the hook in relation to the airport.
But customers are not the only ones who are paying for taxi policy. Nor does it appeal to contract drivers who are charged 27,000 crowns a month for leasing a parking area at Prague Airport, as well as 100 crowns for every single entry. Most of Prague Airport’s contractual partners are taxi drivers who are VAT payers and need to have a monthly turnover of around CZK 100,000 to pay off their work and get a net profit of 30 to 40,000 per month. Drivers usually go to the center of Prague five to six times in 10 hours, and the journey back to the airport is almost always empty. Furthermore, it must have concluded a contract for a two-year operating lease through Škofin for which it pays approximately another CZK 22,000 per month, with an annual maximum rate of 60,000 km. In practice, drivers are then put under pressure to achieve a maximum turnover in order to be able to make any money. This, of course, is reflected in the price per customer. According to the information available from the internet and when talking to drivers at the airport, they often choose longer routes through the bypass, avoiding the shorter routes for the client to make the mileage as high as possible, as well as the bill.
So far, there is a stand in the airport hall where both companies that are to compete are happily working together and charge nonsensical fees. The way from the airport to Žižkov will cost you 900 crowns, with the “handling surcharge” almost one-third of the price. It increases dispatching revenues but drives away individual customers. And there are lots of unresolved questions.
Who checks the performance of the contract? Who has the power to award a contractual penalty of two monthly rents (up to 10 million crowns)? The airport has the power to do so but does not utilize it.
Other carriers, who do not have official representation and stands at Prague Airport are not dealing with such problems, and many tourists are ordering them today. Uber and other companies that run at fixed prices cannot scam the customers, either the dispatching center or taxi drivers.