Taxi drivers in New Zealand are struggling to compete with ride sharing app Uber. The taxi industry claims that the Uber service poses a real threat to passengers, as their drivers do not undergo the same regulations that taxi drivers do. Uber are also able to charge a much lower fare due to their alternative business structure, making them widely appealing to customers, especially the young and tech-savvy who want to be able to book and pay for a ride through the app.
Uber started out in the country abiding by the NZTA's laws; ensuring every driver they employed held a P endorsement and met all other regulations. This process can take several months and cost over $2000 for each person applying to become a driver, so in April this year, Uber decided to take a risk and allow people who hadn't gone through the process to be hired.
The NZTA has written to 1700 drivers across the country, warning them about this blatant breach of the law. Several fines have also been dished out, which will continue to be flung at Uber until they make changes to their practices. Alternatively, they might be spared if changes to the review of small passenger services - in progress now - go their way. This review is intended to future-proof the transport industry, and will hopefully ensure nothing like this happens again.