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3435 posts

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  # 1211877 11-Jan-2015 09:26
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richms: Who does these laws? They clearly need to be changed. I dont see why there needs to be a law preventing 2 parties from entering into an agreement for transportation if all the safety things are all good, which they are by nature of the P license.

On 05/12/2014 a man with a P endorsement was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment at the Wellington District Court for sexual offending. I am also aware of a number of other P endorsement holding people who have been charged with sexual offences committed while they were operating their taxis. The first person I mentioned is in a different situation to these latter ones but the point is a P endorsement is not in any way, shape or form a measure of things being "all good". Not even close. Pretty much all it is is an acknowledgment the driver has completed a course and passed some driving and area knowledge tests as well as having been vetted by police to ensure no convictions.

The question has been asked "why has it taken so long..." - only NZTA can answer that. My initial thoughts would be that they've tried to play nice with Uber (as has previously been mentioned) and also running a parallel investigation into exactly what's occurring with this set up. As blakamin will know quite well (when his tongue's not firmly in his cheek) the CVIU - or 'mermaid's as he probably knows them - are very well schooled up in commercial vehicle rules and regulations.

To try and say it simply comes down to someone high up in one organisation complaining to another is extremely simplistic. That said, someone high up in one organisation has recently gone over to another...

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  # 1211879 11-Jan-2015 09:29
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sbiddle: The NZTA are responsible for ensuring that operators registered by them are operating legally. If they are operating illegally and (as you claim) issued warning for half a year, action should have been taken immediately. This situation should not have been allowed to continue. 


So you're saying no organisation starting up in a new country should ever be given a chance to get themselves up to scratch if they're found wanting?

 
 
 
 


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  # 1211880 11-Jan-2015 09:37
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Dratsab:
sbiddle: The NZTA are responsible for ensuring that operators registered by them are operating legally. If they are operating illegally and (as you claim) issued warning for half a year, action should have been taken immediately. This situation should not have been allowed to continue. 


So you're saying no organisation starting up in a new country should ever be given a chance to get themselves up to scratch if they're found wanting?


Uber operate in plenty of markets and are pushing the boundaries everywhere. If the NZTA had told them 6 months ago that metering was illegal it should have been plainly obvious that Uber would not change anything as phone based charging is a core principle of their business model. Snubbing their nose at this should have seen action being taken immediately.

If I lodged a serious complaint about a P endorsed driver breaking the law would the NZTA just sit there waiting for another person to complain before taking action? One would hope that they would take action immediately.



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  # 1211891 11-Jan-2015 09:55
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Dratsab:
sbiddle: The NZTA are responsible for ensuring that operators registered by them are operating legally. If they are operating illegally and (as you claim) issued warning for half a year, action should have been taken immediately. This situation should not have been allowed to continue. 


So you're saying no organisation starting up in a new country should ever be given a chance to get themselves up to scratch if they're found wanting?


It is the responsibility of the business owner to know the legal requirements of the sector they are going to operate in and comply with those requirements. If they do not then they cease trading or suffer the penalties. 




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  # 1211892 11-Jan-2015 09:59
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sbiddle:
Dratsab:
sbiddle: The NZTA are responsible for ensuring that operators registered by them are operating legally. If they are operating illegally and (as you claim) issued warning for half a year, action should have been taken immediately. This situation should not have been allowed to continue. 


So you're saying no organisation starting up in a new country should ever be given a chance to get themselves up to scratch if they're found wanting?


Uber operate in plenty of markets and are pushing the boundaries everywhere. If the NZTA had told them 6 months ago that metering was illegal it should have been plainly obvious that Uber would not change anything as phone based charging is a core principle of their business model. Snubbing their nose at this should have seen action being taken immediately.

If I lodged a serious complaint about a P endorsed driver breaking the law would the NZTA just sit there waiting for another person to complain before taking action? One would hope that they would take action immediately. 

So why haven't you been screaming out against Uber from day one?

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  # 1211903 11-Jan-2015 11:38
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Reads like a pretty familiar story. An entrenched incumbent extracting large prices from a captive market (ie the Taxi Federation), using lobbying and legal technicalities to try and stop a disruptive market entrant that threatens to shake up their cozy little world. Throw in a good dose of FUD (then wave arms and scream "but but SAFETY!" for good measure) which the media will lap up, and try and get the new entrant shut down.

I doubt they are less safe than taxis. They apparently have to have a COF (not a WOF) for their vehicle and the driver has to have a "P" endorsement then they are as safe as any other hire company legally operating. It's only a technicality about metering. There seem to be a couple of quick solutions to this which occur to me:

 

  • the Ministry of Transport could quickly test and certify the metering app they use
  • they could instead charge a fixed rate based on estimated distance when the trip is booked
  • they could install certified meters
  • the rules could be changed to allow the way they charge
Personally, I dislike the impact of entrenched monopolies, and think the cost of taxis in Auckland is extortionate (my last cab from the airport there cost over $120, which was about the same as the flight). If government cares about consumers, it should be doing whatever it can to encourage competition and different business models, and shake the market up a bit. The last thing they should be doing is colluding with the incumbent to protect their monopolistic position.


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  # 1211904 11-Jan-2015 11:43
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Dratsab:  As blakamin will know quite well (when his tongue's not firmly in his cheek) the CVIU - or 'mermaid's as he probably knows them - are very well schooled up in commercial vehicle rules and regulations.


They normally are pretty good and fair... I've only ever had one make me strap down a pallet with a 20kg bag of flour on it (in a 43ft rated curtain-sider) in the rain. :P

That said, the sudden interest in Uber is very interesting.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1211906 11-Jan-2015 11:47
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JimmyH: Reads like a pretty familiar story. An entrenched incumbent extracting large prices from a captive market (ie the Taxi Federation), using lobbying and legal technicalities to try and stop a disruptive market entrant that threatens to shake up their cozy little world. Throw in a good dose of FUD (then wave arms and scream "but but SAFETY!" for good measure) which the media will lap up, and try and get the new entrant shut down.

I doubt they are less safe than taxis. They apparently have to have a COF (not a WOF) for their vehicle and the driver has to have a "P" endorsement then they are as safe as any other hire company legally operating. It's only a technicality about metering. There seem to be a couple of quick solutions to this which occur to me:

 

  • the Ministry of Transport could quickly test and certify the metering app they use
  • they could instead charge a fixed rate based on estimated distance when the trip is booked
  • they could install certified meters
  • the rules could be changed to allow the way they charge
Personally, I dislike the impact of entrenched monopolies, and think the cost of taxis in Auckland is extortionate (my last cab from the airport there cost over $120, which was about the same as the flight). If government cares about consumers, it should be doing whatever it can to encourage competition and different business models, and shake the market up a bit. The last thing they should be doing is colluding with the incumbent to protect their monopolistic position.



Three technicalities actually.  If Uber is a private hire service like they claim, they can't use metered trips at all - it has to be pre-agreed.  If it's a taxi service like they actually operate as, then a certified meter must be used, fares must be notified to the NZTA and cannot be altered on the fly (there's the catch that Uber won't tolerate - for a taxi service, surge pricing is illegal), and an NZTA safety camera must be installed in the vehicle (footage from those cameras are not accessible to the company - they're a "black box" for the NZTA).

Hey, at least it's not like here in Queensland where the government's "taxi council" representatives show up to every major event and watch for Uber drivers ($200k in fines and counting!) - of course when a taxi plate costs half a million dollars, there's kind of an incentive for the government to protect that business model.

gzt

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  # 1211921 11-Jan-2015 12:42
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I'm guessing the legislation/regulation governing metering requires distance on the road metering. GPS metering is going to be correct on some kind of average. Can this kind of metering meet the current standard?

Imho the law and regulation has to be changed and updated. Iirc current law is tied to mechanical meters which taxi federation vehicles do not even use anymore.




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  # 1211922 11-Jan-2015 12:51
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I seldom take taxis because I have a car and don't drink,
But when I do take on I always negotiate a price before I hop in.

If one cabbie won't agree on a price the next cabbie will....





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gzt

10906 posts

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  # 1211931 11-Jan-2015 13:21
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wellygary:
gzt: My understanding is that Uber here is perfectly legal if
- fare is pre-agreed on a private hire basis (ie; not metered)
and you have just answered your own wuestion! they were busted for not having a certified meter.
if uber want metered fares, they need to go and get their 'meter' certified

They would need to do more than that. Under current regulation a vehicle operating a certified meter needs to be operating under an approved taxi organisation (ATO). An ATO has legal obligations to fulfill (thus financial overhead) including complaints process etc. Uber would prefer to avoid overhead. Imho creating an ATO is pretty easy in NZ.

3208 posts

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  # 1211933 11-Jan-2015 13:38
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gzt:
wellygary:
gzt: My understanding is that Uber here is perfectly legal if
- fare is pre-agreed on a private hire basis (ie; not metered)
and you have just answered your own wuestion! they were busted for not having a certified meter.
if uber want metered fares, they need to go and get their 'meter' certified

They would need to do more than that. Under current regulation a vehicle operating a certified meter needs to be operating under an approved taxi organisation (ATO). An ATO has legal obligations to fulfill (thus financial overhead) including complaints process etc. Uber would prefer to avoid overhead. Imho creating an ATO is pretty easy in NZ.


This is pretty much it.  It's not actually about the meters as such.  Passenger services in NZ are put into different categories in law, and each has it's own rules and regulations.  Uber are a licensed "private hire" company, but their charging system is like a taxi company, and even then it still isn't a certified system.  A private hire driver also can't be on the road cruising for  a fare.  They need to make up their mind as to what they want to be and abide by the laws for that category of service.  Taxi companies (ATO's) cost thousands to set up and have a heap of requirements over and above running approved meters, lights, signage, approved fare schedules (which they can't change on a whim), security cameras, rosters, guaranteed 24/7 service, minimum vehicle numbers, approved operating rules, dispatch systems, emergency alert systems etc etc etc....Uber have a commercial advantage by avoiding all that.








Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be the Batman



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  # 1212145 11-Jan-2015 22:12
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To my understanding (which is probably wrong) Uber is fixed variable pricing within a set quote, this quote exists whether the customer checks it priror to booking or not and the price will always fall within the given quote range, This to me is far superior to unpredictable taxi's.

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  # 1212147 11-Jan-2015 22:21
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lucky015: To my understanding (which is probably wrong) Uber is fixed variable pricing within a set quote, this quote exists whether the customer checks it priror to booking or not and the price will always fall within the given quote range, This to me is far superior to unpredictable taxi's.


Don't disagree, but the current law requires private hire services (Uber) to agree to a price at the time of hiring, or agree on an hourly rate.  That's the crux of the problem. If the price is variable, then it's not fixed.  Terms are contradictory.   




Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be the Batman



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  # 1212149 11-Jan-2015 22:23
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From what I read Uber were pinged for not charging a fixed fare, a requirement for providing a Private Hire service, which is the licence they hold.

As others have mentioned the authorities have most probably taken a softly softly approach as this hasn't worked they've now brought out the big stick.

I strongly suspect the authorities have been under pressure for some time to take action. I know if I were an operator having to comply with expensive requirements and being fined if I wasn't compliant, I'd be expecting others to be made to comply as well. If the Taxi Federation made a complaint I don't blame them.  They don't make the rules they are like Uber, they have to comply as well.

From where I sit Uber want to have the benefits of running a Taxi service without paying for the privilege. No wonder they are cheaper. There's nothing stopping them from setting up a taxi service. Why haven't they done it?






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