Taxi cheats a 'real concern' - Taxi Federation
Taxi drivers fear a south Auckland licencing scam will ruin the public's trust in the industry, already under threat from internet-based services like Uber.
Newshub last night revealed hundreds of taxi drivers may have cheated to get their passenger endorsements, required by law to operate a taxi.
As seen in footage secretly recorded by Newshub, students at training school Super City Taxi Training are given the answers while they're still sitting the exam. They're instructed to get a few answers wrong so it's not obvious what's going on.
"Most taxi companies in New Zealand take their responsibility very, very seriously, and to have this sort of nonsense going on is a real concern," says Taxi Federation spokesman John Hart.
The school is NZTA-accredited, and charges $400.
Having cheated their way to a P endorsement and passed an area knowledge test, all a person would have had to do to become a certified taxi driver is pass a background check.
"These people get out on the road in their taxis, behave in a way that's not a credit to the industry, and the rest of the industry suffers as a result - we all get tarred with the same brush," says Mr Hart.
Internet taxi service Uber doesn't bother making its drivers get a P endorsement, saying it's an unnecessary cost for many of its drivers, which only work part-time. Transport Minister Simon Bridges has threatened to ban the company if it doesn't stop its "illegal behaviour".
By not requiring its drivers to undergo pricey training or checks, Uber is able to undercut taxi prices.
Mr Hart says cab drivers, on the other hand, can be trusted - and Super City Taxi Training is undermining that.
"We regard it as very important that drivers should be going onto the road with a knowledge of the law and how it should be practised."
Super City Taxi Training director Ranjit Singh didn't respond to Newshub's allegations.