In New Zealand, a review of the existing taxi and passenger transport rules was announced a few months ago. Some draft recommendations were released this week and a request for feedback.
Taxis are fairly lightly regulated in New Zealand compared to the rest of the world. There is no restriction on the number of licenses or medallions available.
To become a driver with the ability to carry paying passengers, a driver needs to obtain a P-endorsement on their driving license, which involves a Police check. There are a number of other requirements to become a taxi driver including local knowledge and the ability to speak English.
Uber has got around the rules by acting as a private-hire service, which caters for setting a fixed-price in advance for a service provided. Uber doesn't quite fit within these rules but no one was too concerned.
As a result of the review, the government is looking to cut back on the regulation, but retain several important parts of the law. Drivers must still have the P-endorsement, take a break from work every 7 hours and drive a mechanically-sound vehicle.
And yet Uber still complains.
The P-endorsement involves a Police check, takes 6–8 weeks and costs about $1000. This is a significant outlay for a person looking to work for Uber. The New Zealand Government has decided that all drivers who carry paying passengers require this.
The cost for the P-endorsement seems rather significant and I would like to see that reduced. But I wouldn't argue with the government needing to check drivers out themselves. Uber is a reputable company with stellar management and trustworthy drivers but the next company offering similar services might not be.
I get the feeling that Uber would even complain about the requirement for drivers to have a driving license.