Auckland Transport is working with Uber in an attempt to ease the city's traffic woes.

Documents released to the Herald on Sunday under the Official Information Act reveal meetings and emails between the council-controlled organisation (CCO) and the global ride-sharing company over potential ways to improve Auckland's road congestion, public and private transport services.

With AT in the process of improving it's "Journey Planner" - a digital system which figures out the quickest way to a destination through public transport - it confirmed Uber has been consulted over the use of its technology.

The partnership will effectively offer the public an alternative method of transport, where walking is otherwise the only option.


"AT has been in discussions with Uber to use their system interfaces to provide transport options," an AT spokesman said.

"This project is currently in the test stage and due to go live on the public website soon.

"It provides a transport option for the first and last leg of a public transport journey, which is not currently available unless the customer walks."

Uber said the partnership involves incorporating the company's actual app into AT's services.

"Uber has been helping Auckland Transport understand how to integrate our ridesharing app with public transport service information," an Uber spokesman said.

Last month, Transport Minister Simon Bridges was outspoken about Uber's approach to vetting drivers - saying a ban on Uber was not the Government's preferred option, but passenger safety was paramount.

Uber defended its approach and insisted passenger safety was a top priority.

Uber changed its vetting process in April to no longer require drivers to hold a passenger or "P" endorsement, which meant some drivers were flouting New Zealand law.

The P endorsement includes a police check, a fit-and-proper person inspection and regular checks that the driver is able to provide a transport service.

Uber carries out a lighter check, based on Ministry of Justice criminal records and New Zealand Transport Agency driver licence records.

Internal AT emails released through the OIA reveal senior AT staff detailing concerns that Uber "are continuing to operate outside the law in some cases". When asked about that, AT said driver and vehicle regulation is not applicable to the CCO and there are no operational risks.

"AT deals with companies that are legally allowed to operate such as Uber, enforcement of driver and vehicle regulation is not a function of AT," the spokesman said. "As with any business the actions of their employees or contractors is a matter for the company and any enforcement or regulatory body.

"There are no operational risks to AT, the information provided is for customers to make informed journey choices, whether they choose to use Uber or any other third party provider is still up to the customer. AT does not provide any booking link to Uber."