An Uber driver has escaped charges for using his smartphone as a taxi meter.
Ajay Singh Panai, 35, appeared at the Auckland District Court today to face one charge of exceeding his driving hours on November 30.
The Mt Roskill man was previously charged for using his smartphone as a taxi meter amid a police sting that saw several passengers turfed out of cars last year but the charges were withdrawn.
Panai was fined $330 and disqualified from carrying passengers for one month after he pleaded guilt to driving for three hours more than his allowed time.By law, drivers must take a 30 minute break after every 5.5 hours of work time.
Defence counsel Simon Mount said Panai took a 25-minute break instead.
Panai would lose about $1000 a week and struggle to support his young family without the income from driving for Uber, Mr Mount said.
"The bottom line is that I suggest a minimal fine...He has a completely clean driving record and has never before had a demerit point."
Judge Eddy Paul said Panai's finances were taken into account in his sentencing.
The offence carries a maximum fine of $2000 alongside the minimum driving suspension of one month.
The increasingly popular Uber - a taxi alternative which allows people to order rides on their smartphones - was embroiled in controversy last year when police started a clampdown on how drivers were determining fares.
Auckland DJ and Remix magazine publisher Tim Phin posted details online when he was kicked out of an Uber vehicle by police in January.
"We pay the police to find crack dens, prevent rapes, stop burglaries. Not to kick me out of a car," he wrote.
Drivers for the private hire service are not allowed to run taxi meters and must agree on a set fare or hourly rate with the passenger at the time of booking.