By GUY WILLIAMS
A Queenstown cab company’s taken advantage of the Covid-19 lockdown to bring its technology right up to the minute.
The resort’s Corporate Cabs franchisee Ian Paterson says the company’s national owners
originally planned to roll out new systems throughout the year.
But when the pandemic arrived, they decided to speed things up and use the lockdown period to install the tech, thereby minimising disruption for its customers and drivers.
Paterson says it now has the most advanced systems of any taxi company in the country.
The final step was last month’s introduction of an app that customers can use to book a
cab and see a real-time ETA for its arrival.
They can also choose the type of vehicle they want, get a travelling time estimate to their
destination and pay the fare with a pre-registered credit card or account.
Most importantly, it gives a fixed fare before they even get in the vehicle, a feature Paterson understands only Corporate Cabs is providing at the moment.
For non app-users, the company’s switched to an automated phone system that speeds up bookings and can recognise the voices of regular customers.
He says the app is ‘‘similar, dare I say it, to an Uber app’’, and designed to improve the
customer experience, particularly for the younger, tech-savvy crowd.
‘‘We realised that’s the way to go these days … it’s basically setting us up for the future.’’
Paterson says he’s back to running nine cabs in the resort — the same number as pre-Covid — but business remains ‘‘challenging’’ with no international visitors.
He’s owned or managed a range of businesses in the resort for the past 39 years, and
experienced ‘‘all the ups and downs and traumas over that time’’.
But he’s confident Queenstown will ‘‘bounce back’’.