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Auckland City Council Tightens Taxi Permit Noose

Auckland City Council Tightens Taxi Permit Noose


By Christopher Adams - AUT University Journalism Student

Taxi drivers who want to use council-owned ranks will soon require permits if the Auckland City Council has its way.

Transport committee chairperson Ken Baguley said the permits would address bad driver behaviour, such as queue-jumping, and ensure a quality service operates at council-owned ranks.

The permits would cost $75 a car and the council would expect the major companies to police the behaviour of their drivers around the ranks, he said.

Complaints from the public could mean drivers lose their permits, he added.

Mr Baguley said smaller companies and “one man band” operators would not be excluded from obtaining the permits, but would have to prove they could conform to the required standards of behaviour and vehicle presentation.

“People need to know that if they get into a taxi at an Auckland City Council taxi rank they are going to get a good service.”

Auckland driver Plamen Florov (pictured below), who drives for VIP Taxis, thinks the council’s plans are a “bad idea and very undemocratic”.

“They want to get rid of the small companies,” he said. “It’s like a kind of apartheid.”

He said the council’s permit concept would make the current situation of too many taxis and not enough ranks even worse.

“We are already very short on taxi ranks. Most of the taxi ranks were taken away and made into bus stops and loading zones a few years ago.

“At the moment it is very hard to find yourself a place [on the rank]. You have to cruise around. I believe we make even more traffic in the city from cruising around.”

He said the permits would not stop “dodgy” taxi operators from coming into the CBD from suburban areas and clogging up inner-city streets on Friday and Saturday nights.

But he agreed the council needed to crack down on the city’s less reputable taxi operators and drivers.

“They make all taxis and drivers look bad. People hate all taxi drivers just because of the dodgy ones.”

New Zealand Taxi Federation executive director Tim Reddish said his organisation was very supportive of the concept and willing to work with the council to ensure its success.

“What you’re currently finding in Auckland is the quality standard of taxis is not very good, and driver behaviour is not very good,” he said.

“Auckland City Council doesn’t have any other alternative really.”

Mr Reddish said smaller taxi companies would have to conform to standards set by the council if they wished to continue working in the city.

ends

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