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NZTA orders Auckland taxi company off the road

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The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has revoked the operating licence of an Auckland taxi company with a fleet of approximately 200 cabs.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has revoked the operating licence of an Auckland taxi company with a fleet of approximately 200 cabs.

The 'Approved Taxi Organisation' (ATO) status of AA Yellow Cabs Ltd was revoked with effect from 5pm on Thursday 18 February after NZTA investigations uncovered significant breaches of commercial transport law.

The company was successfully prosecuted by the NZTA twice in 2009 for breaches of transport law, and another three charges are pending.

NZTA Regional Manager Access and Use Andy Thackwray said the revocation action was initiated as a result of two NZTA investigations, which were prompted by ongoing concerns about the company's ability to operate in a safe and legal manner. This investigation identified numerous offences under the Land Transport Act 1998 and associated legislation.

Specific issues which the company repeatedly failed to address include:

  • Allowing an unlicensed driver to drive a taxi
  • Failing to maintain a register of members and drivers
  • Failing to notify the NZTA of a serious complaint against a driver
  • Failing to comply with log on/log off requirements for drivers
  • Failing to ensure that drivers adhered to published work rosters

Mr Thackwray said these issues had been brought to the attention of the company's management last year, and the company had been given ample opportunity to make the improvements needed to bring their standards to the required  level. He said while revocation was a last resort, the action demonstrated the NZTA's commitment to improving compliance in the taxi industry throughout the country.

"These are serious breaches of regulations which are intended to protect the public, and this company has demonstrated an ongoing inability to operate in a safe and acceptable manner on numerous fronts. While we always endeavour to work alongside companies that are willing to improve their standards, if a company is either unable or unwilling to become compliant we will not hesitate to take action in order to protect the safety and security of the travelling public and ensure a level playing field for the industry," Mr Thackwray said.

Questions and Answers

Why have you taken this company off the road?

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is committed to regulating the taxi industry fairly and firmly to ensure the safety and security of passengers. AA Yellow Cabs was identified as a company that was struggling with areas of compliance. Our advisory team spent several years working with the company to help them to bring their operation into compliance with transport legislation – but they were unfortunately unable to do this. That left us with no option but to revoke their operating licence.

All companies need to comply with their statutory obligations and bear the costs of compliance. It is unfair on other, compliant operators, if individual companies do not meet their responsibilities

Can they appeal this decision?

Yes, through the District Court.

Did they have an opportunity to make improvements?

Yes. The company was the subject of an audit completed in April 2009, and revocation procedures were commenced due to identified non-compliance issues at that time. As a result of assurances given by the company that the necessary improvements would be made, revocation did not proceed. A follow-up review took place in September 2009 and was completed in November. A satisfactory level of compliance had not been achieved and the revocation process was re-initiated, with the company and its members being given the opportunity to make submissions to the NZTA.

How many other companies has NZTA taken off the road in recent years?

NZTA investigators routinely undertake audits of non-compliant commercial vehicle operators. Although these investigations sometimes do result in revocation action, a large percentage of the companies we investigate are able to lift their level of performance to become safe and compliant transport operators after receiving advice and assistance from our staff. Ten other taxi companies across New Zealand have had their ATO status revoked in the past two years.

For more information please contact:

Ewart Barnsley
Auckland Media Manager
NZ Transport Agency
T +64 9 3682142
M +64 27 2137616
F +64 9 3682059
ewart.barnsley@nzta.govt.nz

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