Taxi drivers and the night time economy: an exploratory study on their experiences
Taxi drivers perform a significant role in the transport infrastructure of towns and cities around the world. They have become a vital subsidiary industry to the night time business of bars and clubs within central city areas, a term now collectively referred to as the night time economy. However, while catering to these transport needs, overseas evidence suggests that they are at great risk of falling victim to criminal acts such as assault, robbery, and even murder. There is a need then to establish whether these findings are relevant in a New Zealand context and establish how the risk of victimisation interacted with taxi drivers’ involvement in the night time economy. This research was conducted using grounded theory methodology with taxi drivers interviewed from Auckland Co-operative Taxis. A total of nine drivers were interviewed in this study. Findings indicated that taxi drivers face a number of issues as a result of their occupation. It was found that the problems drivers face occur across day and night and are only further exacerbated by working within the night time economy. Economic insecurity was a primary motivator for continued involvement within this arena and affected drivers’ decisions to accept risky fares. The introduction of a working wage was identified as a potential solution to this problem, freeing drivers to make rational decisions without regard to financial necessity. Future research should investigate the experiences of drivers that operate for the smaller companies as it was put forward that they have more relaxed operating standards than those observed with Auckland Co-operative Taxis.