New Zealand Uber drivers face stiff fines over licensing issue
PHOTO: New Zealand officials are taking Uber and its drivers to task.
Uber drivers in New Zealand are facing thousands in fines as officials look to shore up those drivers who squire travelers about the country without securing a P endorsement—the equivalent of a license that proves a driver has gone through necessary vetting.
Stuff.co.nz reports fines have now reached upwards of $93,000 (NZD), encompassing a portion of the 3,000 drivers Uber has operating throughout Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch areas, according to the report.
At the heart of the matter, is the NZ Transport Agency taking umbrage with Uber purportedly disregarding governmental mandates that drivers go through a process that secures a P endorsement.
Many of Uber’s drivers have not done so, which has garnered a wealth of complaints and fines in the form of, since April 2016: “4107 warning letters sent to potential Uber drivers; 139 formal warnings issued to drivers; 185 infringement notices issued; 29 drivers ordered off the road/forbidden to drive;” and, most notably, nearly $100,000 in fines.
The report quotes Transport Minister Simon Bridges who states unequivocally, “Drivers and potential drivers need to be under no illusions: driving without a P endorsement is unlawful.”
The report reminds that Uber, last April, decided that its drivers around the country didn’t need to secure the requisite governmental licensing to join its ranks.
That has led directly to myriad fines and letters of admonishment and warning.
Uber, for its part, is now stating that it’s working to shore up the difference and find a healthy middle ground for its drivers. The report quotes Uber spokesman Caspar Nixon who explained the hope was to make compliance a more seamless process for drivers.
Nixon states Uber has a: “public commitment to look at fast-tracking regulatory change to reduce compliance costs and simplify requirements to make ride-sharing accessible for New Zealanders who want to share rides in their personal cars.”
Nixon says that Uber is looking for a new process that would ensure cooperation in a manner that suits the company and drivers that use its service: “We look forward to working with the Ministry of Transport and NZTA to put partners through an accessible revamped endorsement as soon as possible. In the meantime, we’ll continue providing our safe, fast and affordable screening process that delivers the safety outcomes the traveling public want and expect.”
The assumption is that business will continue as usual. Essentially, those who choose to drive Uber will continue to garner fines from the government while Uber sits back and goes along for the ride. http://www.travelpulse.com/