Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Claims Uber driver bought teens alcohol

Uber said if the alleged incident was true, the driver would lose his job. Photo / 123rf
Uber said if the alleged incident was true, the driver would lose his job. Photo / 123rf

Auckland parents claimed an Uber driver bought alcohol for their 15-year-old son.

The New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) says it will investigate any complaints of inappropriate behaviour.

The parents say they've lost confidence in the ride-sharing company and are contemplating laying a complaint with police.

Uber said if the alleged incident was true, the driver would lose his job.

A friend of the teenager's parents, speaking anonymously on their behalf, said the 15-year-old and his two friends, also aged 15, were picked up by the Uber driver from a Takapuna house on Saturday night.

On their way to a party in Remuera, the parents claim the driver bought the teenager a box of Woodstock, a ready-to-drink mix of bourbon and cola, after he was offered an extra $10.

In a statement to the Herald yesterday, a spokesman for Uber said the "safety of its riders and driver-partners is a top priority".

"Our Community Guidelines set out the behaviour expected from both riders and drivers. People who breach these guidelines or our terms of service may be barred from using Uber, either temporarily or permanently depending on the seriousness of the breach."

NZ Transport Agency's National Operations Manager, Access and Use, Kate Styles, today urged anyone with concerns to contact both NZTA and police.

Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell

"If the driver involved in this alleged incident holds a passenger endorsement, and if the driver were to be convicted of an offence as a result of the alleged incident, the driver's passenger endorsement could be revoked."

However, Styles said since April, Uber had allowed its drivers without the appropriate endorsements to carry paying passengers.

"This is illegal, as the law requires anyone carrying passengers for hire or reward to hold a passenger endorsement. While Uber has stated that it is doing its own Ministry of Justice and driver licence checks before deciding if they will allow someone to drive for them these checks are far less rigorous."

Passenger endorsements provide an assurance that a driver is medically fit and has been properly vetted for criminal convictions and other issues, Styles said.

- NZ Herald

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