Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Minister acts to cut licence delays after drivers tell of lost income

The New Zealand Transport Agency is reviewing the licensing system for taxi drivers. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The New Zealand Transport Agency is reviewing the licensing system for taxi drivers. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The New Zealand Transport Agency is reviewing the licensing system for taxi drivers with a view to speeding it up after drivers lobbied the Government over loss of earnings caused by delays in licence renewals.

National list MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi yesterday said he'd met Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges and taxi companies this month to discuss concerns raised by Auckland drivers.

"Taxi drivers provide a very important service in facilitating travel and tourism in Auckland," said Mr Bakshi.

"However, I am aware of the impact a delay in processing applications and renewing licences can have."

Mr Bridges told the Herald the industry representatives had a good point when they told him of the length of time it took to renew existing licences.

"There can be significant delays in them getting a renewal of that licence, in some cases eight weeks.

"From their point of view that means potentially a loss of income."

After Mr Bridges raised the issue with the Transport Agency, the agency told him it wasn't happy with those delays and was reviewing the licensing process in a bid to reduce the turnaround time.

Any improvements would also apply to new licence applications but public safety protections such as background checks would not be compromised, Mr Bridges said.

The minister also confirmed he'd asked the agency to investigate a national strategy for the use of bus lanes by taxis.

But that was largely an issue for local government to consider.

Mr Bakshi said he was pleased with the progress on the taxi industry's concerns, "and will continue engaging with industry to ensure their concerns are heard".

- NZ Herald

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