7 May 2012

NZTA criticised over taxi enforcement

10:51 pm on 7 May 2012

The Taxi Federation says new figures prove the Transport Agency is reducing its taxi enforcement on the quiet and this must not be allowed to happen.

Figures issued to Radio New Zealand under the Official Information Act show the number of taxi audits and spot checks carried out by the New Zealand Transport Agency dropped from 2956 in the 2007/08 financial year to 1154 in the past financial year.

As a result, the number of companies and drivers disciplined for breaching regulations dropped from about 1000 to 400.

In the same period, about 150 drivers had their passenger endorsement revoked and taxi companies had their passenger service licence revoked more than 50 times.

Taxi Federation executive director Tim Reddish says drivers will still be breaking the rules, but the Transport Agency is doing an average job of catching them.

The agency says it spent $2 million on enforcement activity in the 2010/11 financial year, compared with $1.3 million in 2007/08.

It says it initially focussed on individual taxi drivers in their cabs when the Taxi Enforcement Unit commenced in 2007 and this explains the high number of audits and inspections.

The agency says it allocated more staff time in the past year to working with taxi companies and is looking at entire fleets to ensure compliance and good practice, rather than focusing on individual drivers and cabs through spot checks.

But the Taxi Federation says more money is being spent now for less enforcement and it wonders if the agency is fudging its financial information.