A cap on taxis in Wellington?

Dave Burgess in the Dom Post reports:

There are too many in and it is time to put a limit on them, the mayor says.

The taxi industry agrees and has called on the Government to introduce legislation to cap or reduce numbers in the city.

It is no surprise the taxi industry wants a cap – because that would protect incumbents and lead to higher earnings for current drivers.

It does not mean it will be a better service for those who want to hire taxis.

There are 1237 taxis licensed for Wellington City. About 400 were on the road before deregulation. This tripling of taxis in the past 20 years has led to overcrowded taxi stands and dubious parking practices as drivers clamour for business, especially in the late-night Courtenay Place party zone.

I regard it as a good thing that when you want to go home from Courtenay Place at 2 am, you can easily find a taxi.

I’d support tougher tests for becoming a taxi driver – both in English skills and location knowledge. But I don’t support an arbitrary cap on cab numbers.

You know what would be useful though – a website showing each taxi firm, and what their fares are.

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