New passenger transport law

Richard Harman writes at Politik:

Transport Minister Simon Bridges believes his proposals to regulate the taxi industry will be world leading.

The Land Transport Amendment Bill aims to bring in from the cold and make it part of the mainstream taxi industry.

But in the process, it will require some concessions from Uber.

Bridges says the Bill will allow for a more competitive small passenger services sector than we have ever seen before.

 “We’ve tried to be scrupulously fair in this process and cerate the best regime for the sector and not for any particular interest,” he told POLITIK.

Uber drivers may not see it that way.

Under the Bill drivers of “small passenger services,” vehicles drivers will continue to be required to hold a “P” licence endorsement and to display a driver identification card.

A fit and proper person check, including a Police check, will need to be undertaken before a P endorsement is granted.

Drivers will no longer need

  • an area knowledge certificate:
  • to pass a full licence test every five years:
  • have completed the passenger endorsement course:

These are good changes. They will reduce the cost and time to get a P endorsement. However some of the changes need not wait for legislation.  The passenger endorsement course requirement could be dropped by order in council I am told.

Bridges gives a hint to the tensions that exist within the industry when he says that new operators (Uber) face un-necessary compliance costs and obsolete requirements which were drafted in the 1980s well before smart phones had been invented.

But he also says: “If you are an established firm, a co-op taxis or the like, you are equally frustrated and perhaps even angry because there are other operators who in your view are not playing by the rules and have an unfair advantage on that basis and are also potentially  operating in a way without any assurance as to safety.”

Bridges says it is going to be a very different regime to what we have had. It will bring all small passenger services including Uber, traditional taxis, dial-a-driver and some other models all onto a level playing field.

I feel much safer with a driver I have ordered through my smartphone, than a driver you get by phoning up or randomly hailing down. When I order through my smartphone I get verified recorded knowledge of:

  • The driver’s numberplate
  • The driver’s name
  • The driver’s photo
  • The driver’s mobile number
  • The time of pick up
  • The route driven

I also know that I get automatically prompted to rate their service out of five, so they have a huge incentive to behave well.

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