Uber, the United Stated-based car service which allows people
to summon rides from a mobile app, is planning to service
every postcode in New Zealand including Otago and Southland,
Auckland general manager Oscar Peppitt says.
''We're working hard to grow the service every day. We would
love to be there as quickly as possible.''
He rejected allegations Uber was operating illegally since it
started in Auckland in May.
The Uber drivers had the required documents to drive a taxi
and operate for private hire, he said.
Mr Peppitt claimed an Uber vehicle was safer for passengers
and drivers than a taxi.
''Uber's technology means drivers and riders are no longer
anonymous - technology provides accountability.''
The Uber cashless payment system was more convenient for
passengers and safer for drivers.
''Having Uber facilitate payments eliminates issues like
robberies, passengers running from fares, fare disputes and
overcharges. Uber builds more trust between taxi drivers and
users, creating a safer experience for both.''
Legislation in New Zealand needed to be updated, Mr Peppitt
''An iPhone is not a taxi meter. Regulations in New Zealand
were written at a time well before technology was being used
this way, so the rules are obsolete. There is no relevant
regulation contemplating how phones, technology and GPS can
be used in calculating fares.''
The taxi meter issue had been raised in other countries and
courts concluded an iPhone was not a taxi meter, he said.
Dunedin Taxis chairman Tony Ross said passengers were putting
their safety at risk by using Uber.
''You pay your money and you take your chance.''
With a taxi, the passenger had a choice of what vehicle to
''If there's a row of taxis on a rank you don't have to take
the first one, you can vet the drivers by looks, appearance,
colour, creed or race.
''Whatever takes your fancy.''
Andrew Rutherford, of Dunedin, said he had everything
required to drive for Uber and had contacted the company
about becoming a driver in Dunedin.
''It would be good to have extra work through some other
means that didn't require taxi depot fees.''
As Uber was operating in several countries where taxi fares
were cheaper than in New Zealand, he expected it would work
Mr Rutherford said he faced threats and intimidation from
taxi drivers when he launched his Night Bus Dunedin service
from the Octagon in May.
An Uber car would be as safe as a taxi because an Uber driver
regularly criticised with low ratings by passengers would
struggle for work, he said.
Mr Rutherford said if Uber operated in Dunedin, he would
drive his car, rather than the bus.
How Uber works
•The San Francisco-based company's mobile app connects
passengers with available drivers.
•The payment for the ride is settled with Uber, not the
driver, with the passenger's credit card being billed after
•Uber's rates change when demand is high to entice more cars
on the road to ensure reliability during busy times.
•When car supply was sufficient, the surge pricing stopped
and the pricing returned to normal.