Queenstown taxi wars hot up and spread across to Wanaka

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Wanaka’s yellow-cabs boss has barred up over a Queenstown taxi company invading his patch.
 
Queenstown Taxis this week launched in Wanaka with three cabs and four drivers, taking on the town’s sole operator, Wan A Cab. 

Kevin Blackledge, boss of Wan A Cab – which early this year entered the competitive Queenstown market – says his new rival is “just a big company having a go at a wee company, trying to shut us down”. 

Blackledge accuses Queenstown Taxis of poaching five of his drivers in recent weeks, “going up to them at night-time, knocking on their windows offering them more money”. 

Queenstown Taxis setting up in Wanaka is “probably” retribution for Wan A Cab starting up over the hill, he says.

That’s denied by Queenstown Taxis director Dave Wright. 

However Wan A Cab setting up in Queenstown “opened our eyes a little bit to what’s going on over there and we realised there is a gap in the [Wanaka] market”.

Wright says his company’s taken on some former Wan A Cab drivers but he’s “definitely not aware” of Blackledge’s poaching allegation. 

Wright adds his company’s not out to shut down Wan A Cab: “It seems like the sort of thing he’d say, but we’re not shutting anybody down. 

“We’re there to service the public, just like he is.”