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Govt Wants To Ensure Taxis Meet Safety Obligations

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Steven Joyce
Steven Joyce

Wellington, May 1 NZPA - The Government is taking steps to ensure taxi companies meet legal obligations on driver and passenger safety, Transport Minister Steven Joyce said today.

"The Government's focus will be on ensuring taxi companies have the necessary safety measures in place that are required by law," he said.

"Taxi companies are required by law to provide a safe work placed for all employees, including contractors, and we need to hold them to that."

Mr Joyce said that other than those operating in small centres, they were also required by law to provide a 24-hour communication service with all working drivers.

"We know that this requirement is often breached," he said.

"I have asked the NZ Transport Agency, which is responsible for policing this, to monitor closely and penalise offending companies."

Mr Joyce said an additional safety measure that could be taken was putting security cameras in cabs.

But the cost would be considerable -- about $1000 per taxi -- and there was not a lot of support for it.

He was, however, urging taxi companies to reassess their safety measures and take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of their drivers, particularly those driving at night.

"Current legislation allows the installation of safety screens, security cameras and distress buttons in taxis," he said.

"I'm happy to remain flexible about which safety devices are deployed to support driver safety.

"The installation of these devices is both the choice and responsibility of taxi drivers and their companies."

Mr Joyce said he asked officials to see what could be done to increase safety in taxis following the death of Christchurch driver Abdulrahman Ikhtari in December.

Two youths are on trial charged with his murder.

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