Green Cabs back on the rank

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By GUY WILLIAMS

Green Cabs has re-emerged under new ownership in Queenstown after becoming a casualty of Covid-19.

The taxi company’s former South Island area manager, Graham Hadley, bought the company’s trademarks, dispatch system and other assets last month after the nationwide company went into liquidation in May.

It restarted operations in the resort last month with 15 vehicles — electrics or hybrids — and 19 drivers.

‘‘When Green Cabs ceased trading and it was clear it was insolvent, I was approached by a number of the driver-owners who said ‘is there anything we can do?’’’ Hadley says.

They wanted to resume operating under the Green Cabs brand or with a new company.

‘‘It’s a good brand name, and we all operated with Green Cabs because we believed in the company’s ethics and policies, so it made sense to carry it on, but in a more viable form than previously.

‘‘We’re here to look after the locals, we’re giving locals discounts and they won’t be overcharged.’’

Although he’s running fewer vehicles than the 36 operating pre-Covid, it’s the optimal number for the resort’s current economic climate, he says.

‘‘I could have double the number of cars out there — I’ve had so many approaches from people who want to operate with Green Cabs.

‘‘But I don’t want to dilute the market so that I’ve got 30 cars out there but nobody making enough money to pay the bills.’’

Hadley, who’s lived in Roxburgh for the past two years but was previously based in Queenstown, says the three-week school holiday period was ‘‘pretty good’’ for business.

‘‘That’s all started to drop off now, and will continue to do so until the September half-term [school holidays] comes around.

‘‘Hopefully then we’ll get a similar boost from local New Zealand tourism as we’ve just had, but really we’re just looking after the local population from now until then.’’

The pre-lockdown Green Cabs, whose majority shareholders are Wellington couple Callum Brown and Eva Romanowska, stopped trading in March and a liquidator was appointed in May.

It had branches in Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

Hadley says he expects to restart Christchurch operations soon, and is looking at options for restarting in the other centres, including Dunedin, down the track.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz