NZ Taxis against Uber

July 30th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Controversial car travel app is eyeing the Wellington market but the taxi federation says it is illegal under New Zealand law and warns that it is “sugar-coated poison” that will lead to higher fares.

Uber has denied claims it was operating illegally since it started in May in Auckland, where people can book a ride from motorists who are not cabbies.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said Uber was effectively acting as a booking agent for a network of private hire service providers – not as a taxi firm – and those private hire services were a long-established form of passenger service in New Zealand.

The Taxi Federation doesn’t like the idea of competition. I do. Can’t wait for Uber to get here.

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26 Responses to “NZ Taxis against Uber”

  1. nark (14 comments) says:

    they’re not currently even cheaper than taxis in Auckland, unlike overseas where its often 50% off a fare, especially if they have a promo like it is in Seattle at the moment of 25% off Uber-X rides

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  2. marquess (5 comments) says:

    Uber is fantastic. ~$20 from Kingsland to Britomart, and it handles payment and emailing receipts & travel maps to you to ensure drivers stay transparent. Competition is a wonderful thing

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  3. Pragmatism (1 comment) says:

    I’m not buying the spin of the the Taxi federation. I wonder if we can get an Uber app for teachers…..

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  4. Viking2 (11,550 comments) says:

    Well that will be Brownlees Portfoloio.

    He gets free taxi’s courtesy of the taxpayer so expect the Nats. to clobber freedom once more.
    They will send it off to Mark Brerries lots to develop a thousand rules and regulations to protect their Taxi Mates just like nearly all other Pollies around the world have done.

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  5. ShawnLH (5,661 comments) says:

    You’re starting to sound like a stuck record Viking2.

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  6. stephieboy (3,379 comments) says:

    Yes competition is a wonderful thing but only if there is transparency and level playing field. Also if you don’t mind someone using uber is potentially an unlicensed driver in a vehicle with no warrant or is dic..
    Users by all means in the interest of “choices” are happy to take their own fate into their own hands.

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  7. peterwn (3,298 comments) says:

    Some years back, taxi companies hated drivers with cell phones – their pet customers could order them directly bypassing ‘dispatch’. Wonder if this is still the situation.

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  8. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I agree with stephieboy.

    This sounds interesting but i would only want to use it if the drivers I booked had been vetted in some way.

    It would surely be very easy for real creeps to set themselves up as an Uber driver. That’s the danger.

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  9. Grendel (1,003 comments) says:

    How about you vet them the same way you vet the glazier, plumber etc. word of mouth. if you want to risk an unlicensed driver with no WOF, go for it. of course none of this means the driver is no good or the car is no good, just that they do not have the govt mandated bits of paper/plastic.

    however it makes sense to check if the person is any good. i beleive in the US passengers leave feedback for Uber drivers so you can build a rep. same goes for passengers, so drivers know who to avoid.

    power of the freemarket, no government needed.

    competition is currently not a level playing field if i cannot tell my friends on facebook i will drive them places for $20, without having to pay a ton of fees for regulation etc.

    Fuck the taxi federation and their state mandated monopoly.

    i recently managed to piss off a couple of taxi drivers at wellington airport. it was a horrid night and there were not many taxis there so i yelled to the crowd, “anyone want a lift to town”. first two people to say yes i dropped off on my way home. the look of death from the one tax driver there calling in for reinforcements was well worth it. now i did not take any money from them, but if i had chosen to, what is wrong with that?

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  10. CHFR (234 comments) says:

    Thor42 I am guessing it will help the likes of Driving Miss Daisy and Chariots (here in Wellington) who are not allowed to tout for business on the taxi ranks due to their license, they have to operate through bookings only.
    I see Uber being a boon for them and good luck to them I say.

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  11. Sarge (3 comments) says:

    Thor42, as someone (loosely) involved in this field, I can answer a couple of your questions. At the very least, there’s a feedback system (like on Trademe or Ebay), where people post feedback after each ride, and you can limit your options based on this. Some places (either as a concept or in practice) link it to social media accounts, and you’re only matched with people who are your friends, or are friends with your friends. Finally, I would say that in practice, many people making driving on these apps their job (including many ex taxi drivers) so there’s a good chance you’ll be matched with someone who does it regularly, and has a strong incentive to protect their reputation.

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  12. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    however it makes sense to check if the person is any good. i believe in the US passengers leave feedback for Uber drivers so you can build a rep. same goes for passengers, so drivers know who to avoid.

    Uber drivers have to maintain a 4.5 star rating. If they fall below that they are permanently cut from Uber.

    I would trust a 1,000 ride 5-star Uber drive over some random “vetted” taxi driver.

    Uber is the future of taxi services, even if Uber itself doesn’t stick around. The taxi companies are now the walking dead, as they appear unwilling or unable to offer the same type of service to consumers. They can only be saved by government intervention and protection.

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  13. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    P.S you will probably be able to restrict your Uber search to only hybrid or fully electrical cars. So expect to hear vertebrae popping along the backs of the Greens as they contort trying to align their naturally protectionist philosophy and their fig leaf of environmental concern.

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  14. CJPhoto (227 comments) says:

    Uber is cheaper than taxi’s
    Drivers do get vetted by Uber, and then rated by customers.
    Te biggest issue at the moment is the lack of drivers at some times of day/night.

    Think of the money the ministry of Health would save – those $10 fares would drop to $6.

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  15. MH (810 comments) says:

    there are two certainties in this world, both highly overrated: death and taxis.

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  16. dime (10,095 comments) says:

    you mean these people operate without strict govt oversight?

    they rely on the market to ensure quality?

    good god, what is the world coming too?

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  17. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Thanks Sarge and Kimble – very useful comments!

    As Sarge mentioned, Uber reminds me very much of TradeMe. On TradeMe you tend to buy from sellers with a very good reputation.
    The same would apply for Uber.

    As long as you can see the reputation of the driver you’re booking (and that seems to be the case) then that would seem to allay most concerns.

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  18. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    Can’t wait for Uber to get here.

    Hell, couldn’t agree more DPF.

    At the moment I have to belong to a taxi organisation, hold a license that requires a driving test, a regular police check, a biennial medical check, have a vehicle that holds a CoF, has GPS and camera installed, use a vetted and approved meter, hire an MDT, have a two-way radio installed and working, charge an approved fare, wear a bloody uniform and pick up anyone who is not very, very pissed, filthy dirty or dangerous.

    With your Uber mates all I need is a car and a cellphone.

    Of course I do await your comments after the first rape.

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  19. CJPhoto (227 comments) says:

    “At the moment I have to belong to a taxi organisation, hold a license that requires a driving test, a regular police check, a biennial medical check, have a vehicle that holds a CoF, has GPS and camera installed, use a vetted and approved meter, hire an MDT, have a two-way radio installed and working, charge an approved fare, wear a bloody uniform and pick up anyone who is not very, very pissed, filthy dirty or dangerous.”

    To be an Uber driver you must belong to Uber, hold a license that requires a driving test (legal requirement to drive a car), a regular police check (Uber can set the rules for this and currently requires you to have a taxi license), a biennial medical check (legal requirement of a passenger license), have a vehicle that holds a CoF (legal requirement for car to be on road), only pick up Uber members, use Ubers approved rates, have a cellphone and working, wear clothes (optional but may effect ratings).

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  20. Viking2 (11,550 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman (2,991 comments) says:
    July 30th, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Can’t wait for Uber to get here.

    Hell, couldn’t agree more DPF.

    At the moment I have to belong to a taxi organisation, hold a license that requires a driving test, a regular police check, a biennial medical check, have a vehicle that holds a CoF, has GPS and camera installed, use a vetted and approved meter, hire an MDT, have a two-way radio installed and working, charge an approved fare, wear a bloody uniform and pick up anyone who is not very, very pissed, filthy dirty or dangerous.

    With your Uber mates all I need is a car and a cellphone.

    Of course I do await your comments after the first rape.

    ==========================
    Right , well none of those “qualifications have stopped all that in the past, have they.

    Well no.

    Won’t it be good to be free from all that shit and you can run your business in a manner that you should or do you remain a coward in the market place?

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  21. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    V2, I’m sure your comments make sense to you. They don’t to me.

    You should note that I’m agreeing with DPF.

    Stopped all what?

    I’m guessing you’re attempting to suggest that the current regulations have not stopped some taxi drivers from misbehaving.

    If so you are correct but will point out that they have been responsible for catching many of the perpetrators and preventing them from offending again.

    However I no longer have the energy for rape – with no active regulation I’ll simply rip drunks off.

    Bring it on!

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  22. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    CJPhoto, you are wrong in several facts, enough to suggest you know even less than I do.

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  23. CJPhoto (227 comments) says:

    MT – probably true though I did misread CoF as WoF so I was clearly wrong on that one. Uber can set any rules it wants for its drivers and while not regulated, they have set higher than minimum standards (drivers license and road legal car) in the US – eg. they do do police checks though they have let through the odd ex-criminal.

    You cant rip off drunks with Uber as passengers get an email with the route, time taken, etc which they can check when sober and complain if needed.

    In fact, with automatic payment , the opportunity to rip of passengers is less as you cant take all the cash when the drunk passenger hands over their wallet when they are too drunk to count the cash.

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  24. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    This sounds interesting but i would only want to use it if the drivers I booked had been vetted in some way.

    They are vetted, first by the people who have previously ridden with them and rated them, which you can see in advance of selecting them, and secondly by the fact that misbehaviour gets you kicked off Uber. Third your progress to destination is tracked. You do not have to select unrated drivers, or drivers with limited ratings.

    I have substantially higher trust in that system than I do of the current system.

    Of course I do await your comments after the first rape

    Well that will occur in spite of the technology which made automatic tracking of the perpetrator possible, rather than because of it. Anyone who tries that using Uber is going to jail.

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  25. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    However I no longer have the energy for rape – with no active regulation I’ll simply rip drunks off.

    Nope, wrong again. Journeys are tracked and drivers who take advantage of their customers are easily found out. You can try it and you’ll be out of a job. What else have you got?

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  26. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    Uber kills dispatch not taxis. Taxi drivers, or their companies, can simply switch to Uber dispatch.

    Driverless cars kill taxis.

    Driverless cars+Uber kills private car ownership. Big reduction in transport costs by sharing the fixed costs of car ownership. More efficient land use. Enviro friendly. Raises mobility and reduces inequality. Win.

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