The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says an April series of compliance and safety checks on taxis operating in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions shows that the overall standard of cabs in the regions is rising but there is still room for improvement.
Earlier this month, Transport Officers from the NZTA’s Access & Use group teamed up with the Police Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU) staff from across the region. They examined drivers’ compliance with taxi rules; work time and logbooks; driver and transport licensing; and vehicle safety standards.
Taxis were targeted in Tauranga, Rotorua and Hamilton, where vehicles were directed to a local testing site to undergo a full mechanical examination and compliance inspection.
In total 67 vehicles were checked with the worst 10 vehicles being ordered off the road due to mechanical defects. (4 in Hamilton, 4 in Tauranga, 2 in Rotorua). A number of other vehicles in each area were directed to fix a range of smaller non-critical faults. Another six taxi operators (2 in each area) were ordered to stop working until their vehicles’ security cameras were fixed.
NZTA Regional Manager of Access and Use, David Pearks, says that while overall the results were an improvement on similar operations conducted in the past, there were still a number of vehicle faults and compliance issues identified which needed addressing by some taxi operators and drivers.
“This improvement shows that the taxi organisations have the ability to manage the performance of their members and this is reflected in their drivers operating safer vehicles. However, it’s always disappointing when we find that not all organisations achieve this.”
Mr Pearks says the checking operation is part of the NZTA’s role to ensure that taxis are safe and legal. “It’s just one aspect of our work in this area. Our efforts to improve the safety of taxi operations are ongoing and we will continue to do all we can to ensure the safety of the travelling public by supporting improved taxi standards and compliance in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Rotorua District.”
Mr Pearks says that as a result of the operation, Police are also now following up on a handful of prosecutions. “Police will advise us of the outcomes from those; and our Access & Use commercial team will get the results back to the relevant taxi companies and work with them to target and fix the problem areas identified.”