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NZTA orders Hamilton taxi company off the road

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The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has revoked the operating licence of a Hamilton taxi company with a fleet of approximately 15 cabs.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has revoked the operating licence of a Hamilton taxi company with a fleet of approximately 15 cabs.

The 'Approved Taxi Organisation' (ATO) status of Freedom Cabs Ltd was revoked with effect from 5pm on Thursday 8 October after an NZTA investigation uncovered serious breaches of commercial transport regulations. These breaches included the operation of vehicles that failed to meet the safety standards required to carry passengers.

NZTA Regional Director Harry Wilson said the revocation action was initiated as a result of an NZTA investigation, which was prompted by serious concerns about the company's ability to operate in a safe and acceptable manner. This investigation identified numerous offences under the Land Transport Act 1998.

Specific issues which the company repeatedly failed to address include:

  • Drivers working outside rostered hours
  • The operation of improperly licensed vehicles
  • Non-compliance with taxi company rules and NZTA regulations
  • Incomplete logbooks.

In addition, all the Freedom Cabs' vehicles inspected during a Hamilton taxi enforcement operation carried out in May 2009 failed to meet the required Certificate of Fitness standards for commercial vehicles and were ordered off the road. The issues identified in the inspected vehicles included bald tyres and steering, suspension and brake faults.

In August 2009, Freedom Cabs was found guilty in the Hamilton District Court of failing to maintain a register of owners and drivers. The judge noted that 25% of the register held by the company was either incomplete or contained incorrect information. The company was also found guilty of failing to maintain a complaints register.

Mr Wilson said the safety of passengers was the NZTA's primary concern.

"These are serious breaches of regulations intended to protect the public. They were detected during our investigation, but were only part of the reason we decided to take this revocation action. Our investigation also clearly showed that this company has demonstrated an ongoing inability to operate in a safe and acceptable manner on numerous fronts, including the maintenance and operation of their vehicles. We did everything we could to help them raise their standards. Our advisory team provided the company with extensive support for a period of six months to help them improve their safety standards and 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."

Mr Wilson said the revocation action was a sign of NZTA's commitment to improving standards in the taxi industry throughout the country.

"While we always endeavour to work alongside companies who are willing to improve their standards, our top priority is ensuring the safety and security of the public. If it becomes evident that a company we are working with is either unable or unwilling to become compliant we will not hesitate to take action in order to ensure the safety and security of the travelling public," Mr Wilson said.

For more information please contact:

Julie Hannam
Regional Communications Advisor
T: 07 958 7238
M: 027 294 2649
E: julie.hannam@nzta.govt.nz

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