Taxi Company Taken Off Road: Bigger Clean Up Needed


NZTA has revoked the operating licence of an Auckland taxi company with a fleet of approximately 200 cabs.

The ‘Approved Taxi Organisation’ (ATO) status of AA Yellow Cabs Ltd is revoked after NZTA investigations uncovered significant breaches of commercial transport law.

I recently had one of the scariest car trips of my life when I grabbed a taxi in Victoria St. The driver roared down the road at a ridiculous speed and then had no idea where to go ignoring my instructions and going on the wrong motorway.

He told me had just arrived that week from Afghanistan and was here on a visitors permit and a relative was running a taxi company.

He then started telling me about how his brother was killed by the Taliban and he began to get very emotional about how he had to pay the local police for his brother’s body.

At that point I demanded to get out of the taxi even though it took me two hours to walk home.

I foolishly didn’t take note of the taxi details, I was too worried about my own safety at the time.

And several years ago when I had a similar experience  and found the driver didn’t even have a meter running (claiming it had just broken that morning when he vacuumed the car – illegal to drive so) I rang officials who seemed completely disinterested.

So I am delighted if today’s action by the NZTA signals a strong stand against the state of Auckand’s taxi industry. Everyone I know has a horror story – and we’re going to get a great reputation during the RWC when drivers on a visitors permit similarly decide to cash in on the influx of visitors.

The company affected in this incident was actually successfully prosecuted by the NZTA twice in 2009 for breaches of transport law, and another three charges are pending.

  • Specific issues which the company repeatedly failed to address include:  Allowing an unlicensed driver to drive a taxi
  • Failing to maintain a register of members and drivers
  • Failing to notify the NZTA of a serious complaint against a driver
  • Failing to comply with log on/log off requirements for drivers
  • Failing to ensure that drivers adhered to published work rosters

FORT ST CAB RANK: I never know which cab to pick

NZTA says these issues had been brought to the attention of the company’s management last year, and the company had been given ample opportunity to make the improvements needed to bring their standards to the required  level.

I still argue much tougher action is needed to clean up the industry.

There have been calls for this for years and little has been done.

Here we have a company that already has a reputation.

It should not have been allowed to continue.

On the question as to what other companies have had action taken, the NZTA replies:

“NZTA investigators routinely undertake audits of non-compliant commercial vehicle operators. Although these investigations sometimes do result in revocation action, a large percentage of the companies we investigate are able to lift their level of performance to become safe and compliant transport operators after receiving advice and assistance from our staff. Ten other taxi companies across New Zealand have had their ATO status revoked in the past two years.”




  1. Catherine says:

    Agreed I now always phone ahead for taxis and get a reputable company. Being a young female its quite scary going in some of these taxis!

  2. Ingolfson says:

    The bad thing is that 90% of all those 200 cabbies are going to be joining one of the slightly less dark (but still pretty black) sheeps of the industry within a week!

  3. curtissd says:

    My experience of taxi’s in Auckland sucks, they are so expensive and don’t know the way or go the wrong way on purpose to make more money.

  4. Geoff says:

    There’s a Taxi company that cooks the books too, doing all sorts of illegal things. Their night dispatchers are paid as little as $5 an hour, with no contract, and a verbal agreement that if they talk, they get sacked. Still a lot more to do to clean up the Auckland Taxi industry.

  5. joust says:

    thats a pretty freaky story Jon C. You obviously managed the walk ok though!

  6. Jon C says:

    @Geoff That’s worrying.I hope the authorities get alerted. I edited out the location just to be on the legal safe side.

  7. Geoff says:

    Jon, I would have reported that Taxi company years ago if it were not for the fact a close friend of my flatmate works for them, and would be out of a job if they were closed down. They pay her $5 an hour with no contract and 12 hour shifts, as they do with a number of their staff. It’s been that way for at least eight years now.

  8. Jim C says:

    When in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin I always use a company that operates in those 4 cities. They are a little dearer but the drivers are always well dressed, very polite and always know where they are going. The problem though is you have to book about and hour or so before traveling as they are so sort after. I wont give the name on here as I think it would be the wrong thing to do.
    Jon C let me know though if I’m right in not mentioning the name.

  9. Andrew says:

    @Geoff, surely if your flatmate were to get other work it would pay more?

    All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing…

  10. Owen Thompson says:

    @Geoff. Tell her to contact her union. Minimum wage is $12.75ph.

  11. Nick R says:

    They have a bailee arrangment where the driver is a self employed sub contractor or something, it’s not subject to minimum wage.


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