The Government has introduced this years Land Transport Amendment Bill, they say it will
- Introduce new requirements that will apply to all small passenger services, by removing outdated provisions and by catering for the use of new technologies that facilitate such services
- Make the alcohol interlock programme mandatory for repeat and serious first time drink-driving offenders
- Increase penalties for fleeing drivers, or those who fail or refuse to provide information that may lead to the identification of fleeing drivers
- Include new provisions to help limit fare evasion on public transport
- Update the Act’s requirements relating to heavy vehicles to complement the new Land Transport (Vehicle Dimensions and Mass) Rule 2016
- Make miscellaneous changes to various Act provisions to make them more workable.
I will mostly focus on the Small Passenger Services changes & the changes regarding Fare Evasion.
Last September Simon Bridges indicated that in the next bill he wanted to crack down on Fare Evaders on PT network, he said he believed it was costing $2m a year, and up to 5% of passengers were fare evading in Auckland.
The new bill will give Enforcement Officers new powers
- To require passengers to show evidence they have paid for fare.
- To require passengers who cannot show evidence of paying fare to provide contact details including Name, Address, and DOB.
- To order removal of passenger from PT service who cannot provide evidence of paying fare.
- The ability for them, or the body responsible for them to issue infringement notices for failing to pay a fare.
The Enforcement Officers will be warranted by Commissioner of Police, who can remove warrant if powers misused. The Enforcement Officers will not have the power of arrest beyond the scope of the Crimes Act 1961 which applies to all persons.
- An infringement fee of $150, or upon Conviction $500 for failure to pay for fare.
- Any failure to comply with any legal orders given by Enforcement Officers will upon Conviction face a fine of $1000.
There is some defenses to the act, for example if the ticket machine is not working, the guidance also states the Enforcement Officers have the discretion to grant warnings, or to simply ask passenger to pay ticket. I think this is really good, many of us have probably forgotten to tag on once in awhile not because we are Fare Evaders, but simply in hurry, didn’t tag on properly, or just plain forgot, its only human. Also I have seen many tourists, both from rest of NZ or Overseas who have not understood the system, so I hope the Officers do show some discretion. Many of us have also dealt with broken Ticket Machines.
Basically the main difference between is now only the Police can do the above, now ticket inspectors who are warranted will be able to do the same.
They say these changes are necessary because gating is very hard to do for all stations & has a high CAPEX/OPEX cost associated with it.
Another question will be will AT only ask Ticket Inspectors to be warranted, or will they also have the TM’s warranted.
Small Passenger Services
In 2015 the Government had public submissions on changes to the Small Passenger Services, which I believed I submitted on as a Private Individual. The suggested changes were in response to the rise of Uber & other Ride Sharing companies whose operations were legally ambiguous. Simon Bridges wanted to update the regulations to provide legal clarity regarding these companies, while also simplifying the current system. The MOT believes the new system will “Deliver benefits through more competition, allow flexibility to accommodate new technologies, and will enable transport operators to make their own business decisions on a range of issues, while the system will regulate to provide the fundamental safety requirements.”
The definition of a Small Passenger Service is “Anyone carrying passengers for hire or reward, in a vehicle designed to carry twelve or fewer people (including the driver) is operating a small passenger service.”
The Changes are
- Removal of signage requirements.
- An area knowledge certificate (Outdated now we have GPS)
- Removal of requirement to complete a P endorsement course, however will still need to display driver identification card, as well as complete police check.
- Removal of requirement to complete a Full Licence test every 5 years.
- Removal of requirement to belong to approved taxi organisation.
- Removal of requirement to operate service 24/7.
- Removal of requirement to have certificate of knowledge of law & practice.
- Removal of requirement to have driver panic alarm.
- Creation of a Small Passenger Service Licence replacing Passenger Service License.
Drivers will still need follow within work time limits, and either as or under a person/organisation holding a Small Passenger Service Licence.
Vehicles will still need to have a Certificate of Fitness as well as in the 18 urban areas be fitted with a camera, however exemptions are
- Providing services to registered passengers only.
- Driver and passenger information (e.g. names and photographs of both driver and passenger) is available.
- Driver and passenger information is available before each trip.
- A record of each trip is available (e.g. GPS records).
Carpooling Services i.e. Apps that connect people for carpooling which is different from Uber will also be subject to different rules, for example the third-party providing must have a Small Passenger Service Licence however the drivers don’t need to meet the requirements of a Small Passenger Services driver.
So what do you think about the changes?