Taxi drivers protest illegal operations of Uber in Christchurch

Newstalk ZB staff ,
Publish Date
Monday, 4 July 2016, 11:49a.m.

UPDATED 3.31pm Taxi drivers are protesting against the global ride-share giant Uber outside Christchurch MP Nicky Wagner's offices today.

Drivers have been told by the ride-share giant they don't need a P endorsement in order to carry passengers, which the New Zealand Transport Agency deemed illegal.

Mainland Taxi driver Upesh Patel said they've had enough of Uber's illegal operations.

"They're not paying all the stuff so they can be cheaper than cheap whereas, we comply, we take all the costs into account, we can not compete with these scenarios."

Ms Wagner said it's a peculiar case to Christchurch, and doesn't affect other cities where Uber operates.

"What they did in Auckland, and I think Wellington as well, is they followed all the rules of NZTA but when they came to Christchurch they said, no they take too long, they're too difficult, we've got our own systems, and that's the debate."

Last month, 60 Christchurch drivers were caught driving illegally, after failing to adhere to NZTA's regulations.

Uber says all of its driver-partners in Christchurch have passed a "stringent" criminal history check via the Ministry of Justice, and driving history check with the NZTA.

Vehicles must be 2006 or newer, pass a vehicle inspection, have at least private third party property damage insurance and hold a current Warrant of Fitness.

It also says technology helps ensure safety before, during, and after every ride, including giving riders information about their driver, tracking trips using GPS, enabling riders to share their ETA or route, and incorporating feedback from riders and drivers.

An Uber spokesman says the company has been "overwhelmed by the positive response" since Uber was launched in Christchurch earlier this year.

"Christchurch has become our fastest growing city in New Zealand, with thousands of applications to become an Uber driver-partner, and tens of thousands of people downloading the Uber app to request a ride," he said.

"This is an incredible reflection of the way in which Cantabrians have embraced a new safe, affordable and reliable way to get from A to B."

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