Taxi group welcomes industry clean-up

The Taxi Federation has welcomed a move by Land Transport NZ to help improve taxi industry standards.

Recruitment will begin tomorrow of 10 enforcement officers dedicated to the taxi industry.

They will be part of a new taxi enforcement team working to improve standards and ensure the safety of passengers.

Federation chief executive director Tim Reddish said the organisation was "extremely supportive" of the initiative.

"It's hard to contain my enthusiasm," he said.

"We've been saying for years that the level of enforcement activity has been very poor."

That view was supported by the Auditor-General's report on the effectiveness of controls in the taxi industry, Mr Reddish said.

"We've been pushing for this and are very supportive and hope that it will tidy up the industry."

The new enforcement officers will be responsible for monitoring companies and drivers, issuing infringement notices, investigations and following up on complaints.

They will be based in Auckland and Wellington, where taxi numbers are highest, but will also work in other centres.

Land Transport's commercial road transport chief, John Doesburg, said the establishment of the team was part of a push to improve standards throughout the country.

"We're committed to regulating the taxi industry fairly and firmly to protect people," he said.

"We'll work with those who are willing to improve their standards, and we'll take action against those who won't in order to ensure the safety and security of the travelling public."

Land Transport ordered Auckland's second biggest cab company off the road in June last year.

The operating licence of Economy Taxis was revoked after an investigation uncovered serious breaches of the regulations applying to licensed passenger service providers.

Standards for those entering the taxi industry were also raised with the introduction of the Land Transport Amendment Act in January last year.

This barred people with certain criminal convictions from holding licences with passenger (P) endorsements.

- NZPA

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