An Uber driver has come under the scrutiny of authorities after he agreed to take tourists left stranded by a cyclone on an epic 650 kilometre trip.
Harpal Kang, from Auckland on New Zealand‘s North Island, answered a plea from a U.S. couple who were desperate to head from the city south to Wellington.
Lisa Kottke and husband Matt needed to be in Wellington to attend a business meeting but could not find other forms of transport to take them as they landed in the country during Cyclone Debbie in March, the New Zealand Herald reported.
The trip cost NZD1033 [$952] and took nine hours, pushing Mr Kang’s total shift hours out to 16-and-a-half hours, more than the strict 13 hour limit imposed on drivers.
Mr Kang said the New Zealand Transport Authority had been in touch and demanded he hand over his logbooks, with an investigation into the trip now underway.
In the next two weeks, the NZTA will decided on whether to fine Mr Kang or take him to court, he said.
If court action was taken, Mr Kang, who has been in New Zealand for six years, said he would head back to India.
‘I told them, I’m not going to court again. I’ve already been to court one time, and it wasn’t a good experience for me,’ Mr Kang said.
‘I didn’t do it for money, I just helped them out of the kindness of my heart.’
The NZTA said they had received several complaints about Mr Kang’s trip, which was first thrust into the public spotlight when the couple, from Minneapolis, wanted to publicly thank their driver.
‘We don’t condone drivers exceeding the permitted working hours or failing to take required breaks,’ a NZTA spokesperson said.