A Queenstown taxi boss is no longer in the driver’s seat of his cab or company after being busted in a drink-driving blitz.
Alpine Taxis managing director Alistair “Alfie” Bremer, 53, failed a breath test at a Frankton Road checkpoint about 10pm last Thursday. He was working at the time and had two customers aboard.
“I’ve just shagged my life,” Bremer says this week. After the breathalyser, he chose a blood test – police are awaiting results ahead of a possible prosecution.
Queenstown constable Sean Drader confirms a 53-year-old cabbie with two passengers was one of only two drivers – among 650 stopped at the checkpoint – whose “breath level was over the limit”.
He confirms the New Zealand Transport Agency was advised. An NZTA spokesman says once police work is finished they’ll then decide whether the cabbie is “a fit and proper person” to take fare-paying passengers again.
Police and NZTA wouldn’t confirm the name of the company or cabbie but Alpine Taxis and Bremer are hiding nothing.
Alpine director Martin Lamphee says flatly: “[Bremer] no longer works for this company in any manner.”
Bremer has voluntarily exited the Alpine board, agreeing to sell his shares and telling Lamphee he won’t drive for them again, Lamphee says.
Are these temporary measures pending his blood test and possible prosecution?
“No, it’s a permanent thing,” Lamphee says, adding Alpine is “saddened by his loss”.
“It’s a really sad story, affecting a lot of people,” he says. “The guy’s career has come to the end of the road.
“His life’s been ruined. Alcohol’s a terrible thing and another person’s fallen victim to it.”
The incident has let down the entire local taxi industry, Lamphee claims.
“Some people didn’t know whether the driver was from Alpine or Queenstown Taxis or Corporate Cabs – he was just known as a taxi driver.”
Despite possible charges, Bremer also doesn’t mince words.
“I’ve let [other cabbies] down, I’ve let my family down and I’ve also let myself down, haven’t I?”
He’s floored about failing the breath test.
“I’ve been driving cabs for the best part of 30 years and if I thought I was over the limit, I would not have been out there driving.
“I’m stupid but I’m not that f—ing stupid.”
Bremer says he only had “a couple of Jim Beam [bourbon] and Cokes”.
Singles or doubles? “I wouldn’t have a clue what they were.” He won’t say where he was drinking.
Blood-test results will take at least a week, perhaps longer – and that’s agonising.
Bremer, pointing out no charge has been laid, says though he’s “innocent until proven guilty”, it’s “unlikely” he’ll return to taxis.
“Until such time as I’ve really got a case to answer, I’m trying to lead some form of normal life.
“If you could call it a normal life – when you haven’t even got a friggin’ income and you don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.”
The stress has been immense: “I didn’t even sleep for two days, I’ve just about worn the carpet out in the house.”
He’s grateful that his wife, family and friends support him – but it’s tough.
Mountain Scene: What are you going to do for Christmas?
Bremer: “I might hang my f—ing self.”
Mountain Scene: Oh seriously, don’t say that.
Bremer: “I am f—ing serious.”