Nova Scotia

Macdonald bridge taxi surcharge leaves Halifax woman feeling 'gouged'

Taxi drivers taking people from airport to some parts of Halifax are allowed to charged an extra $5 when Macdonald bridge is closed.

Taxi drivers taking people from airport to some parts of Halifax are allowed to charged an extra $5

The $5 surcharge was reached with the taxi companies about a year ago when the Macdonald Bridge began routine closures.

A Halifax taxi passenger says she feels "gouged" after she was charged an extra $5 because the Macdonald bridge was closed. 

Lindsay Jones took a cab from the Halifax airport on June 19. Usually it's a $63 flat fee to take a taxi from the airport to peninsular Halifax. 

So she was surprised to hear the fare was $68 when when the driver arrived at her home on Lawrence Street.  

"He said there was a $5 extra charge because the Macdonald bridge is closed and he had to come over the MacKay," she said.

Bridge surcharge

Taxi companies were given the ability to charge the $5 surcharge about a year ago, said airport spokesman Peter Spurway. It came into effect after the Macdonald bridge began routine closures as part of the massive Big Lift Project

The surcharge is meant to cover the extra time and distance it takes drivers to use the MacKay, Spurway said.

It can only be charged when the Macdonald is closed and only for destinations south of North Street on the peninsula. Jones lives roughly four blocks south of North Street. 

There doesn't appear to be a mention of the $5 surcharge on the airport authority's website, which lists the flat taxi fee from the airport as $63. 

Spurway said this is the first complaint he's aware of about the surcharge.

Which route is faster?

Spurway said he's driven from the airport to downtown Halifax a hundred times, and he has no doubt that the Macdonald bridge is a faster and shorter route. 

But, in Jones's case, Google Maps tells a different story.  

During off-peak hours, it takes 33 minutes to travel the 34.3 km from the airport to Lawrence Street via the Macdonald, according to Google. The trip via the MacKay bridge is 36.9 km, but takes just 30 minutes.

A route taking Highway 102 and skipping both bridges would be 41.4 km or 31 minutes, according to Google. 

Jones said her husband often takes taxis from the airport and finds drivers usually take the MacKay to their home, since it's faster.

She paid the surcharge, but it rubbed her the wrong way.

"I just thought $68 was way too much for a taxi and I feel like I was gouged and I thought other people—especially with it being the tourist season—are getting gouged as well. It just left me with a really gross feeling," she said.

"I felt like I overpaid." 

About the Author

Cassie Williams

Reporter/Editor

Seasick marine biologist, turned journalist. I live in Halifax. I can be reached at cassandra.williams@cbc.ca

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