The NZ Transport Agency welcomes the fines imposed against an Auckland taxi company convicted of several charges relating to its failure to ensure its drivers provided a safe and secure service for the public.
Green Cabs Ltd was fined a total of $6,300 after pleading guilty in the Auckland District Court earlier this month to four charges under the Land Transport (Operator Licensing) Rule 2007. Three of the charges related to Green Cabs’ failure to provide a 24 hour 7 day a week service, and the fourth to the company's failure to maintain adequate control over its drivers.
Andy Thackwray, Regional Manager for Access and Use - the NZTA's regulatory group responsible for monitoring the taxi industry - says the fines send a clear and simple message to the industry ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
"For many thousands of visiting rugby fans, the door to a taxi is likely to be the first they will open when they arrive in New Zealand and this court case will help ensure that they will be able to do so with confidence in the taxi industry and its drivers," says Mr Thackwray.
The conviction of Green Cabs Ltd followed an NZTA investigation into the way the company was fulfilling its legal obligations as a licensed Approved Taxi Organisation (ATO).
Mr Thackwray says there were multiple occasions at night where the 24/7 service was not provided. Drivers were working as they saw fit and the company appeared to have taken no steps to ensure that they followed their rostered hours of work.
"This not only meant that the 24/7 coverage lapsed, it also meant that some drivers were working beyond the maximum 13 hours a day permitted by law, increasing the chances of fatigue-related crashes and putting themselves, their passengers and other road users at risk," Mr Thackwray says.
The NZTA says it was told by the company that it had had difficulty providing the 24/7 service because of the number of drivers leaving the company. The Court said the company’s behaviour raised issues of public safety.
Mr Thackwray says the NZTA acknowledged the company's guilty pleas, but added that all ATOS had an obligation to provide a safe and secure service.
"The rules for ATOs underpin the integrity and quality of our taxi services, provides people with confidence in taxi services, promotes the safety of customers and other roads users, and protects other taxi companies who comply with their obligations," says Mr Thackwray. "Operating a taxi service comes with many responsibilities. Those responsibilities are not something the NZTA will compromise on."