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Options to better manage taxis in CBD

Council to decide on options to better manage taxis in CBD

On Wednesday 6 August Auckland City’s Transport Committee is to consider a report that outlines options to improve the way taxis are managed in the central city.

The council is looking to improve safety and enforce the law in the central area by addressing issues such as the overcrowding of taxi ranks, illegal double-parking and inappropriate driving behaviour by taxi drivers, while at the same time developing a safer and better taxi service for the public.

“We appreciate that there are many professional taxi drivers doing a great job in this city. Unfortunately there are also a good number driving unsafely and parking illegally, especially in the CBD,” said Councillor Greg McKeown, chairperson of the Transport Committee.

“Council staff and parking officers have tried for months to improve things and it is time to take further steps. Staff have liaised with the taxi federation and several operators, and there is a general understanding that the situation must improve. It is compromising the public’s safety and disrupting traffic flows. It is inefficient to have city streets and parking spaces jammed up with cabs at times when we don’t need them,” said Councillor McKeown.

A recent survey of residents conducted by Auckland City found that 30% of residents consider they have been affected by taxis double-parking, indicating that taxi behaviour is having a significant affect on the public.

The report to the committee outlines options including zero tolerance by parking officers for illegal parking by taxis and reviewing the location, size and number of taxi ranks in the CBD to reflect the needs of taxi customers.

“Since deregulation the city has experienced huge growth in the number of cabs available and during the day there is an oversupply in the CBD. Our concern is not so much the oversupply but rather the negative effects it is causing during the day,” said Councillor McKeown.

“In contrast, at night time in popular spots such as the Viaduct, Ponsonby Rd and Parnell there is high demand for taxis but limited space allocated for pick-up and drop off close to the popular venues. To alleviate this we’re considering space for ‘night-time only’ taxi ranks, close to where all the action is.

“It is important for the industry and the public who want to catch taxis that we get, as best we can, the right number of taxis in the right place at the right time. The report going before the Transport Committee makes recommendations to do that, improve safety, and enforce the law.”

It is estimated there are 3500 taxis in the Auckland region.

Auckland City has conducted extensive research and analysis to determine the options outlined in the report. Council staff have established relationships with Police, LTSA, the Taxi Federation and taxi companies with a view to examining the issues from an all-round perspective, and to determine future directions that balance the interests of the public and the taxi industry.

Auckland City is responsible for managing taxi ranks, on-street parking and traffic flow issues. LTSA implements Ministry of Transport policy such as licensing taxi operators and making sure they adhere to the regulations required. NZ Police is responsible for monitoring and enforcing driving behaviour.

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