Taxi and Uber drivers caught in police sting

By Amelia Wade

Uber has recently come under fire for ot requiring its drivers to have passenger endorsements Photo / NZH
Uber has recently come under fire for ot requiring its drivers to have passenger endorsements Photo / NZH

A police crackdown on taxi and Uber drivers last weekend saw 129 people given infringement notices and 18 drivers told they were forbidden to operate.

Normal motorists also got caught in the sting in central Auckland, with one woman processed for drink driving.

But while police say the operation carried out at Queens Wharf on August 25, 26 and 27 was focused on small passenger service vehicles, it didn't specifically target Uber drivers.

The app has recently come under fire from the New Zealand Transport Agency and the Minister of Transport for skirting around the laws requiring drivers to have passenger (P) endorsements.

Senior Sergeant Mike Paki of the police commercial vehicle investigation unit said last weekend's operation targeted small passenger service vehicles, cars which carry less than 12 people, "across the spectrum" and private vehicles were also stopped.

In total, 18 drivers were told they were forbidden to operate as a passenger service vehicle, three cars were impounded, nine couldn't produce the legally required logbook and 11 didn't have the correct certification for their cars.

However, police weren't able to say how many people behind the wheel of a taxi, Uber or were just driving their own car. They also did not have a breakdown of how many drivers didn't have a 'P' endorsement because they could be served an infringement notice for numerous different reasons, such as not having a logbook.

But Paki said the person charged with excess breath alcohol was a woman in a private car.
Taxi Federation John Hart said he welcomed the police action and that he'd like to see it happen regularly throughout the country.

The regulations had been developed to ensure public safety, Hart said.

"While most taxi operators take their responsibilities very seriously and complying is not too difficult, those who don't comply, including Uber, must be made to face up to their responsibilities."

Uber has come under fire after it set up its own vetting system in April and stopped requiring drivers to have passenger endorsements - a legal requirement for anyone being paid to take a passenger in their car.

A spokesman for the company said no one should be penalised for providing "safe, reliable rides in their own city" and they would stand by our partners if they have any issues as a result of using the platform.

The spokesman did not respond to questions about whether they had paid any infringement fines handed to its drivers.

"The Government has recognised the issues with existing red tape and the need for sensible reform so that New Zealanders can easily access flexible work when they need it.

"We will continue to work with the Government on what this looks like and look forward to seeing the final outcome of the review in the coming weeks."

A spokesman for NZTA said they continued to take action, as some Uber drivers are operating outside of the law by not having a P endorsement and as of last Friday had sent 2407 warning letters, issued 106 official warnings, 23 prohibition notices and 93 infringements.

"We have been escalating our actions, particularly focusing on repeat offenders, as well as looking at extending prosecution to third parties, which includes Uber."

Uber sting
• Failed to carry agency acknowledgement of private hire service - 5
• Failed to produce logbook on demand - 9
• Driver ID Card not displayed - 6
• Logbook containing 1 to 5 omissions - 9
• Logbook containing 6-10 omissions - 2
• Drove without appropriate driver licence - 4
• No certificate of fitness (Warrant of fitness only) - 11
• Operated vehicle with smooth tyre - 1
• Not up to certificate of fitness standard - 2
• Carried on an unlicensed service - 4
• Forbid to operate - 18
• Failed to comply with prohibition - 2
• Impounds unlicensed service - 2
• Impounds for another offence - 1
• Failed to carry documents identifying licence holder - 2
• Used mobile phone while driving - 1
• Failed to display information - 2
• Failed to stop red light (Non PSV) - 1
• Drove vehicle disqualified (Non PSV) - 1
• Small PSV not displaying approved child safety lock signs - 1
• Taxi failed to correctly display information on both front doors - 1
• Failed to correctly display transport service licence card on a taxi - 1
• Drove with excess breath alcohol (Licence suspended) non PSV - 1

- NZ Herald

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