How it works:
- Situation: since the deregulation of the taxi industry in New Zealand in 2017, there are now drivers who operate as independents using old signs of a now defunct taxi company. In fact, there are over 1000 small companies.
- Set-up: there have been cases where you are overcharged if you pay via card (i.e. eftpos) with no receipt given and have little means of recourse as it is difficult to track down the driver. The New Zealand Taxi Federation claims to receive complaints every day and that most cases are unresolved.
- Past cases: a major case in January 2019 was when a Scottish couple was charged $887 for a 5 minutes ride at the Wellington railway station. The tourists did not find anything amiss initially as the cab had the sign “Wellington” on the roof sign and a driver ID in the cab. It was resolved when the company which rents the eftpos machines to independent drivers found the transaction.
Places to beware:
What to do:
- Photo: if you engage, take a photo of the car plate and the driver’s license.
- Recourse: if you find yourself in this situation, contact the NZ transport agency NZTA) for help (they maintain a national register of complaints against commercial transport services and drivers) or Wellington taxi (this company leases eftpos machines and rents them to independent taxi drivers) to check their records.
- Alternatives: consider using cash or taxi booking apps (e.g. Zoomy, Uber, Greencab, ihail).