New Zealand launches one rule for fee-charging rides

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Wellington, April 21 (IANS) Taxi and ride-sharing companies such as Uber are to be governed by one set of rules in New Zealand, following pressure for a shake-up from both sides.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss on Thursday announced the changes, which include the right for drivers to request not to have cameras fixed in their cars, Radio New Zealand reported.

There is no change to the need for all drivers who ferry passengers for a fee to undergo a police check.

The government said it had created one set of rules under the category of what it called “small passenger services”.

Previously, there were different categories for taxis, private hire, shuttles and rideshare operators.

Drivers would still be required to have a “passenger endorsement” on their licence, which included a police check, so that passengers could feel safe no matter what option or service they chose, Foss said.

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Uber entered the New Zealand market two years ago and has been the focus of complaints from traditional taxi operators, who claim it has an unfair advantage because it is more lightly regulated.

The changes will be considered by parliament this year.



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