Compulsory Taxi Cameras

The Herald reports:

The Transport Minister is pushing for security cameras in all city and the taxi federation hopes they will be in place by the middle of next year.

announced this morning that he would put to Cabinet the recommendation in May.

The move follows recent attacks on taxi drivers: on Saturday, two men held a knife to an Auckland cabbie’s throat for $30 in coins, and in January driver Hiren Mohini was stabbed to death in Mt Eden for a $15.20 fare.

Many Auckland cabbies have since said that they are now scared to work at night.

NZ Taxi Federation executive director Tim Reddish said the federation had been pushing for a Government mandate for security cameras for three years.

“We’re just delighted to achieve our objective and the fact that it will save lives,” Mr Reddish said.

If the recommendations gets through Cabinet, he expects the first cameras would be installed toward the end of the year and be complete by the middle of 2011, Mr Reddish said.

He expected a 24-hour distress alarm – that would let cabbies call for help – would also be part of the new legislation.

I’m confused.

The taxi federation say they are delighted and have been advocating cameras for years, as a safety measure.

So why haven’t they just gone ahead and done it themselves?

Why in God’s name do we need a special law for this?

It is a good idea to get the support of the Minister, sure. But why not just have the Minister write a letter to all taxi companies saying he supports cameras in cars.

Mr Joyce said the industry would pay for the cameras – a cost expected to increase fares by about 30 cents.

So why would individual taxi firms not decide to do this for themselves, without coercion? Wouldn’t drivers be demanding cameras be placed in their cars if the cost averages out to only 30c a trip.

And even if a few companies don’t implement cameras, then their drivers can choose to work for another company.

It’s sad that the NZ Taxi Federation thinks it needs a law passed, to be able to put security cameras into cars. Why don’t they just get on and do it.

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