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Taxi drivers taking notice of zero tolerance

MEDIA RELEASE


Monday 18 August 2003


Taxi drivers taking notice of zero tolerance

Auckland City’s recently adopted ‘zero tolerance’ approach to illegal driving and parking by taxi drivers appears to be working, with the weekend’s parking enforcement team observing fewer offences than usual on Friday and Saturday nights.

“The weekend’s feedback is certainly encouraging,” said Councillor Greg McKeown, Auckland City’s Transport Committee chairperson.

“Taxi drivers are obviously more wary about the prospect of getting a ticket and are changing their behaviour accordingly. If that means they are less inclined to risk the double parking or illegal u-turns that have been compromising the safety of other motorists and pedestrians, then step one in addressing the issue has been a success.”

Officers issued 21 tickets to taxi drivers on Friday night over a four hour period, for offences including parking on yellow lines, parking in a designated police park and double parking. Fifteen tickets were issued on Saturday night.

In line with the new ‘zero tolerance’ policy, parking officers issued tickets for every offence observed, with no warnings or ‘grace periods’ given. This has resulted in actual ticket numbers being up on previous figures, despite the improvement in behaviour observed.

Before ‘zero tolerance’, 49 tickets were issued for double parking in the 12 weeks to 30 June 2003. It is estimated that 95 percent of these tickets were issued to taxis. During the same period 271 tickets were issued by parking officers for parking on yellow lines, of which approximately 25 per cent were issued to taxis.

Zero tolerance is designed to address the current illegal behaviour in the short term, caused mostly by taxis parking illegally when ranks are full. Council’s long-term objective is to address issues of over supply, particularly in the central business district, and improve safety and service levels.

“The parking enforcement team’s role during the weekend evenings is not just to keep an eye on taxis but manage all parking behaviour, make sure footpaths are clear and that access is protected for all road users and pedestrians,” said Councillor McKeown.

A common problem along Karangahape Road on Friday and Saturday nights, for instance, is private vehicles blocking taxis’ access to the allocated night-time taxi stands.

“It works both ways, and last weekend parking officers arranged for several private vehicles parked in the K-Road taxi stands to be towed, to allow for taxis to safely and easily pick-up and set down their passengers in this popular night-time area,” said Councillor McKeown.

Infringement notices issued to taxis account for approximately one-third of all tickets issued during the weekend’s night-time parking enforcement programme.

The Police were also out in force on Friday night, checking taxis for compliance with regulations and issuing tickets for parking and driving offences. Police checked 55 taxis in the central business district and Auckland airport and issued ten tickets for illegal u-turns on Quay Street and nine tickets for obstructing traffic by double parking. Police also issued offence notices for 13 log book and licensing offences.

Ends

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