Taxi group to look into sex assault complaints
Taxi drivers were accused of a dozen sexual assaults during the past year - a number that has shocked the head of the Taxi Federation and prompted an internal review.
The allegations were among 199 complaints the New Zealand Transport Agency received about cabbies and their companies in the year to June.
Figures obtained by The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act show those complaints included allegations of drivers fighting with passengers, using and supplying drugs, brandishing knives and hitting passengers with their taxis.
Of the 199 complaints, 91 resulted in no further action by the agency.
But 31 written warnings were issued, 27 infringement notices were handed out and 10 drivers' licences were revoked - down from 15 the previous year.
Eight complaints were passed on to police, while another eight became civil matters.
Taxi Federation executive director Roger Heale said he was pleased the total number of complaints had fallen from 219 for the previous 12 months.
But he was concerned by the seriousness of some allegations.
The federation would launch its own investigation into what its members had been accused of doing, he said.
The Transport Agency was unable to tell The Dominion Post yesterday which complaints had led to drivers losing their licences, and which companies those drivers worked for.
Federation members account for about a third of all taxis.
"If it turns out that more training and education is needed for our drivers, then we will give it to them," Heale said.
No complaints of sexual assaults were received by the Transport Agency in the year to June 2013, but eight complaints of indecent assault were made against drivers.
Heale said he would have expected that number to be a lot smaller after the introduction of cameras in taxis in 2011.
DRIVEN TO COMPLAIN
Inappropriate behaviour – 22
Overcharging – 21
Sexual assault – 12
Dangerous driving – 12
Physical altercation with passenger – 3
Assaulting a special needs female passenger – 1
Assaulting fellow taxi driver – 5
Presenting a knife in a threatening manner – 1
Intentionally striking a passenger with vehicle – 1
Possessing and/or supplying drugs – 1
The Dominion Post