Taxis at war


Drivers for Queenstown’s newest private hire service reckon they’re being bullied by a local taxi company.

Takeme driver Vikram Singh says he has been dealing with constant abuse for the past eight weeks.

Singh claims Queenstown Taxis’ drivers have dished out verbal abuse, taken photos and stared and pulling the finger at him and his colleague.

In one particular incident at the end of March, Singh says he and another Takeme driver were approached by five Queenstown Taxis drivers outside Fergburger, on Shotover Street, at about 4am.

“They were trying to intimidate us, one of the guys said ‘we’ll beat you so hard we’ll tear you into pieces’,” he says.

The day after the incident his boss called Queenstown Taxis boss Grant Scannell, who it’s claimed told him to “f*** off, don’t tell me what to do and teach your drivers how to drive”.

Scannell says: “Yes he did ring me, I won’t deny that, yes I tried to have a civilised conversation with him but he just kept telling me the way it was.”

He confirms Takeme laid a complaint through his call centre.

However, he adds: “I wasn’t there, I cannot comment on it … realistically if it’s to do with the transport industry they should be talking to NZTA [New Zealand Transport Agency].”

Singh, who is worried he might be roughed up by an opposition driver, says he called the cops and was told they can’t do anything.

“Nobody is helping us,” Singh says.

The Scene approached police for comment but they didn’t respond by deadline.

Takeme is a private service, which means they have to be booked in advance.

Singh claims they never tout.

But once drivers get an order it becomes problematic.

“Let’s say their name is Jamie, anyone could be Jamie on the street – some guy might sit in the car and say ‘I’m Jamie’,” he says.

Asked if Takeme drivers are touting for business on Queenstown streets, Scannell says: “No comment.”

He adds: “We don’t have any problem with competition in this town as long as everyone abides by the rules and regulations.”

Scannell stands by his crew.

“We don’t need to explain ourselves.

“We’re out there doing a job and I can’t be witness to everything everyone in our company does.

“If they do have proof obviously then I’ll deal with the drivers.

“But at this stage it’s he-said, she-said.”