QUEENSTOWN cab firm owner and chairman of the National Taxi Federation (NTF) John Hart said the South Island lakeside town had become the, ‘Wild West of the taxi industry”.
Hart said new government transport rules allowed cab drivers to work without licence plates or taxi meters and was attracting a new sort of driver who appeared to be ripping off tourists and alcohol-impaired locals.
The NTF boss made the claim after he was contacted by a local resident whose daughter had been charged $242 for an $18 journey from CBD to Fernhill. Hart said:
Somebody has been prepared to take advantage of her because she had been out drinking. So how else might someone like that be prepared to take advantage of a woman alone at night?
Queenstown taxi driver Richard Wood said some of the rogue drivers were just locals, “Filling in after their regular jobs” and charging up to double what his company normally charges. He added: “I hear they are charging $140 to Arrowtown and $80 to Hilton. These are quite outrageous prices.”
Green Cabs operations manager Martin Amott said: “These so-called cab drivers are preying on tourists and I am afraid that it is going to affect the reputation of Queenstown for the worst.”