Auckland Uber

By Eric Crampton 03/02/2014

So Uber’s looking to expand into Auckland. This is great news.

I had thought that regulations around taxicabs might stop them.

Any taxicab in New Zealand must have 24-hour dispatch and must have a suitable camera monitoring device. Any vehicle that can be flagged down counts as a taxi. Uber’s dispatch system might count as suitable 24-hour dispatch support, but the camera installation would block any part-time folks from entering the market with their own vehicles.

However, there’s also a very nice “Private Hire” designation. Those vehicles cannot accept casual hires but must instead be booked in advance. I expect that Uber’s booking service would meet this requirement, but I am not a lawyer. The driver may not use a taxi meter to determine the fare – again, Uber should be fine. Drivers would need to put up a driver identification card, and Uber would be responsible for ensuring that these meet spec. Sections 3 and 6 of the Code would apply.

I expect that drivers would have to get a P endorsement on their drivers’ licences, which requires taking a course and passing a test. So current cabbies could flip to Uber in their own cars, retired cabbies who still have the P endorsement could start up again, and others willing to sit the test could come into the market.

I also expect the Taxicab Federation to have a fit and demand that Uber come under taxi licensing.

Auckland Uber, after all.