Dunedin 'sober drivers' face fines of $10,000 as police lose
patience with the unlicenced service organised through
Members of the 2100-strong Dunedin
Sober Drivers Facebook group say the service is safer
than walking and cheaper than a taxi.
Passengers pay fees or buy petrol in return for a ride.
But the group has come under fire from the New Zealand Taxi
Federation which described the practice as illegal and called
for a crackdown.
Dunedin police yesterday revealed they had been monitoring
the group and had spoken to people who had been advertising
on the page.
"It appears some of those people spoken to were genuinely
unaware that this activity was illegal, when in fact they
were operating an unlicensed passenger service. There were
however others spoken to that are aware that this activity is
illegal and they have been warned to
"This is a serious offence and for the first offence, it
carries a maximum fine of $10,000. A second offence carries a
maximum fine of $20,000 and the impoundment of your car,"
Dunedin police said in a Facebook post.
The post stressed that "there would be no further warnings
and those caught operating as "taxis" (unlicensed passenger
service) will be prosecuted and put before the court."
Police said they were concerned that passengers were getting
into cars with people they didn't know who may be
inexperienced behind the wheel or, in one recent case, a
"The other issue relates to some female passengers who are
getting into cars with unknown people. This too poses obvious
safety risks. Several parents spoken to were also unaware
that this practice is illegal or that their teenagers were
taking part in it"
The post drew an instant response from Facebook users on the
Police page with more than 150 comments, most of them
backing the sober driver service.