The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and Police carried out a joint enforcement operation to check the safety and operator compliance of taxis in Tauranga on Friday night.
Operation Double Trouble included members of Tauranga Police, the NZTA’s taxi enforcement unit and local enforcement officers. Police pulled over approximately 25 taxis from Tauranga and Mount Maunganui streets. Drivers were directed to an inspection facility where NZTA enforcement officers checked the taxis. Four taxis were ‘green stickered’ and ordered to be driven directly home or to a place of repair along a pre-determined route and at a set speed. These non-compliances included safety issues such as worn tyres and suspension.
Another 13 taxis were issued ‘Green 2’ stickers for less critical issues such as oil leaks, cracks in tail light covers, broken number plates lights etc. These taxis were allowed to continue on the road but must present the NZTA with evidence of repairs within five days.
One taxi was found to be unroadworthy, with severely worn front tyres. It was issued a ‘pink sticker’ and ordered off the road immediately.
Compliance with operator licensing and driver log books rules were also checked, with numerous log book omissions discovered. In particular, the NZTA officers checked log books for signs of driver fatigue.
NZTA Regional Manager of Access and Use David Pearks says the operation is part of the NZTA’s role to ensure taxis are safe and legal.
“While some problems were found, we were pleased to see overall taxi safety standards and compliance levels in Tauranga appear to be improving. The public can be reassured the NZTA is working with taxi companies to ensure they understand their obligations, and these operations will continue as a way of ensuring taxi operators provide a safe and professional service,” says Mr Pearks.
Sergeant Dennis Hogan from the Western Bay of Plenty Police Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit says it was pleasing that vehicle condition has improved since the last joint operation held in Western Bay of Plenty, however, he says one defective taxi is still one too many.
"Operators need to ensure that their vehicles comply with the relative legislative requirements 365 days of the year, not just on the day they obtain a Certificate of Fitness.
"Passengers don't expect to pay for a service in a vehicle that is substandard or where their safety could be compromised, nor will we allow them to be put in that position. These types of checks will continue."