Uber caution: Queenstown rivals attack


Queenstown’s two main cab companies are opposed to a cheap rival car hire service setting up in the resort.

There’ve been reports that Uber - in which people order rides on their smartphones – will set up in the resort this year after launching in Auckland and Wellington last year.

The controversial service has been outlawed in some countries and earned the ire of the New Zealand Taxi Federation.

Local Green Cabs area manager Martin Amott says: “I heard from the pipeline they were coming in a couple of weeks and that was a month ago.”

He can’t see Uber working in Quenstown or else it would have set up a long time ago, he says.

“Both [main] companies do special discounted rates for local loyal customers, and they’re so competitive that Uber just wouldn’t be able to compete.”

Queenstown Taxis boss Grant Scannell also doesn’t think Uber would work here.

“I think the difference between us and Auckland and Wellington is we’ve got a clear run straight out to the airport.

“I think it works in bigger cities because taxis are stuck in the traffic and meters are still running.”

Scannell’s principal concern about Uber is over passenger security.

“We’ve spent thousands of dollars on [security] cameras.

“The police utilise both us and the Greens for security reasons - if there an issue in a taxi at nighttime they can go to either company and get all the info they need.”

Amott adds: “My daughter could be getting in a car with some horrific person and get in a taxi at A and never get to B.

“All of our vehicles have to be maintained at a very, very high standard.

“An Uber driver, he could buy a car on Trade Me for a few hundred buck and away he goes.”

By contrast, present Queenstown taxi customers, he says, get a professional driver who’s spent a lot of money getting trained.

Scannell adds that both major companies would be “very proactive to try to stop Uber from coming here”.

Mountain Scene asked Uber spokesman Oscar Peppitt for comment but he hadn’t replied by deadline.