Fares will rise to cover taxi camera costs

Monday 1 Aug 2011 10:24 a.m.

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By Ally Mullord

Customers will cover the cost of increased security in taxis, but the New Zealand Taxi Federation says price rises as a result of new security standards will be minimal.

As of today all taxis are required to have security cameras fitted, at a cost of around $1000 per cab, and NZ Taxi Federation executive director Tim Reddish says “about 95 percent” of vehicles are already compliant.

Mr Reddish told Firstline that while there will be an increase in taxi fares as a result of the new measures, this will be small and will vary from company to company.

“There will be a small increase… anywhere from 20c to 30c extra on the flagfall,” he says.

“Some [companies] have chosen to do it in other ways, like a small addition to their per km rate, but in the main any increase will be minimal.”

The cameras have been introduced as a deterrent to lower the number of attacks on taxi drivers, and Mr Reddish says they’ve reduced attacks by 75 percent in the Australian jurisdictions where they have been introduced.

“I think the deterrent element alone is probably going to stop the really serious things,” he says.

“The difficulty you have is like you have anywhere else in society - if you get somebody that’s crazed on drugs or intent on committing a violent crime then you still may have a problem.”

Heavy-duty plastic shields are an alternative security measure, but Mr Reddish says these have “proved very unpopular” in the industry as they interfere with the car’s air-conditioning system and prevent drivers engaging with their passengers.

Some private companies have tried to get around the law by referring to themselves as private hire vehicles – which aren’t required to have the cameras fitted – but Mr Reddish says this won’t be effective.

“Our advice from the enforcement authorities [is that] they… won’t be allowed to sit on taxi stands, they won’t be allowed to hang around night spots and bars, they won’t be allowed to operate at transport terminals.”

He says those companies trying to evade the new measures by becoming private hire vehicles won’t be able to make a living, and will “eventually drift back to taxis”.

Watch the video for the full interview

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