Queenstowner Grant Scannell’s switched colours.
After 14 years with Queenstown Taxis — which he dubs ‘‘blue bubbles’’, the past 10 of which he’s been managing director — Scannell’s now
the general manager of Green Cabs New Zealand.
He’s also just been unanimously voted back in as president of the Small Passenger Service Association, formerly the NZ Taxi Federation, just
over a year after first being appointed to the top job.
Scannell, 53, says he resigned from Queenstown Taxis about four months ago, and finished up about four weeks ago, wanting a change of pace.
‘‘Getting calls all during the night just got too much; I just thought, ‘I’m not getting any younger’.
‘‘It was full-on.’’
But when Green Cabs, bought earlier this year by Corporate Cabs, heard he was a free agent, they approached to see if he’d be keen to help expand the Green brand throughout the country.
Originally operating in Wellington, Queenstown and Christchurch, the latter folded through Covid.
At present, he’s overseeing 30 cabs in the capital and another 16 in Queenstown, and has initial plans to grow the number of Green Cabs in the resort, particularly at night-time.
‘‘Obviously, Queenstown [Taxis] does have vehicles out there at night-time, but not to the [extent] we used to.
‘‘A lot of the guys feel intimidated, so we just have to get that confidence back in the industry.’’
He notes he still has an excellent relationship with Queenstown Taxis, which he believes is ‘‘an awesome brand’’.
‘‘Having a close relationship with Queenstown Taxis, for Greens and Corporate, is good for the industry, especially with the issues we’ve still got going on with the independents.
‘‘There are some good independent operators out there, but there are also some ratbags.’’
Scannell’s long campaigned for the government to change the 2017 legislation that deregulated the industry, paving the way for independent cabbies, known locally as ‘scab cabs’, to regularly overcharge passengers.
He’s hoping the new government will bring in more stringent controls, particularly when it comes to driver licensing.
‘‘Back in our day, before the legislation changed, you had to hold a NZ driver’s licence for two years, now you can pretty much apply for your P-endorsement … before you even get to the country.
‘‘Potentially, now, you go and get your medical, you apply for your P-endorsement, they do a police check on you and that’s it.
‘‘There’s no driving test, no test with regard to log-book hours — that’s what we need to get back to.
‘‘We need to have some restrictions in place.’’