Taranaki taxi drivers urge council to change after ‘omnishambles’ at LAB concert

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Uber haulage company owner and driver Rob Needs drives because he loves people, but he's willing to ditch that for New Plymouth's next massive event after Saturday night.

SIMON O’CONNOR / Tips

Uber haulage company owner and driver Rob Needs drives because he loves people, but he’s willing to ditch that for New Plymouth’s next massive event after Saturday night.

People-loving Taxi Driver Consider Hanging Up Keys For Upcoming Bowl of Brooklands Concert After LAB ‘Nightmare’

Rob Needs, who has owned his own commercial passenger transport business for almost two decades and is an Uber driver, said the Saturday night pick-up and drop-off point on Brooklands Rd was chaotic because it was too small.

“It was an omnishambles,” Needs said. “It was dangerous at the time of taking charge. It is a recipe for disaster. “

The drop-off and pick-up area has been set up in the small entrance to Brooklands Park Dr.

SIMON O’CONNOR / Tips

The drop-off and pick-up area has been set up in the small entrance to Brooklands Park Dr.

The New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) said it had developed the area at the bottom of Brooklands Park Dr after suggestions from taxi companies following previous events.

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But Needs and another taxi company owner said they had not been questioned and called for changes.

LAB's Sir Dave Dobbyn and Joel Shadbolt took to the Bowl of Brooklands stage together on Saturday night.

LISA BURD / Tips

LAB’s Sir Dave Dobbyn and Joel Shadbolt took to the Bowl of Brooklands stage together on Saturday night.

Needs said the main problem was that a pickup area was not large enough for taxi services and the public to share.

He wants to see the parking lot near the entrance pushed back, and the extended drop-off area, with specific areas for taxis.

TE Taxis owner Richard Belk said he had not had any specific complaints from his drivers, but personally believed there “could have been a bit more room”.

“It’s always a dog’s breakfast,” Belk said. “They should get the taxi rank to go up a little higher on Brooklands Road for five or six taxis to stop.”

Needs plans to leave his cab empty for the next gig to avoid chaos.

SIMON O’CONNOR / Tips

Needs plans to leave his cab empty for the next gig to avoid chaos.

About 12,500 people attended the concert, led by kiwi group LAB and starring Sir Dave Dobbyn, and it ended around 11pm.

Getting a cab after events at the Bowl of Brooklands is known to be difficult and those who do manage to call one usually have to pay outrageous prices for it. Saturday was no different.

Needs said he knew what the pickups would look like at the end of the concert – with “tight space and people trashed” – and chose not to work in the area, but one of his van drivers l ‘did.

“He said it was just a nightmare,” Needs said. “Traffic management wasn’t there at the end of the day. “

He said he had raised his concerns with traffic management and council in the past, but they were not being heard.

“They have to consult us.”

Needs to drive because he loves chatting with people on rides, but is willing to give it up to avoid the chaos at the next Bowl of Brooklands concert, when Synthony performs on February 5th.

An NPDC spokesperson said the council was not aware of any issues and had not received any complaints.

“We’re always looking at how we perform it and how we can improve. “

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