Waka Kotahi is warning Dunedin residents to prioritise their safety over a cheap fare, following the rise of unvetted social media-based taxi schemes.
Regulated taxi drivers need to hold a special Small Passenger Service Licence which requires them to pass a police vetting process.
Waka Kotahi compliance manager Kelvin Lloyd said social-media-based taxi schemes were increasing in popularity but they did not have the same checks and balances.
"We know many people use the Dunedin Sober Drivers Facebook page for often late night / early morning journeys but many of these drivers have not passed the all-important vetting process or have a safe vehicle," he said.
"What we'd like people to be aware of is that they need to check all those safety systems are in place before they commit to the ride."
He urged people to check for the driver's ID, a small passenger service licence and a Certificate of Fitness on their vehicle.
Without these, Lloyd said drivers should not be offering rideshare services.
National Road Policing Centre director Superintendent Steve Greally said a taxi, Uber or other service was a great alternative to drink driving.
"But at the end of the night, be careful not to get into an illegally operating small passenger service. If they aren't properly licenced don't get in. Having a licence means the driver and their car are safe."
Police and Waka Kotahi are advising anyone wanting a safe ride home to:
- Keep safe by staying together, don't let your friends go off alone.
- Share a ride home, just make sure it is a licenced, safe operator.
- Check if the driver's photo ID, Small Passenger Service Licence and Certificate of Fitness are visible.
- Agree on a price before you get in. They must also give you a receipt.
- Make sure your phone is charged before heading out so that you can keep in touch with friends and family throughout your ride home.
- Share these messages to your friends so they know their rights and can be safe at night and after parties.