No need for more cabs - operator

17:00, Jul 04 2014

Timaru does not need any more taxis, according to Timaru Taxis Ltd fleet co-ordinator Bruce Scott, who said it would be "overkill."

Scott said there were 19 taxis in Timaru, with the "busiest night by far" being Saturday.

While some customers complained about having to wait at peak times on Saturday nights, Scott said drivers did their best.

"Over the years our rosters have evolved to reflect what we need - but every now and then you may get caught out.

"Last Saturday night I was running about 20 minutes behind and one out-of-town customer had to wait up to an hour for a taxi, but that happened years ago as well when there were three taxi companies operating."

Scott said the delays in getting a taxi were caused by a number of factors out of the company's control.


"Some people will order a taxi then leave and don't let us know, so we end up sitting there waiting."

Scott said what annoyed drivers, especially on a busy night, was queue jumpers and ‘ratbags' who ran out in front of their cars.

"They run down the street, open the door, jump in, and that causes a bit of a problem for our drivers," he said.

Dealing with drunk people was nothing new for taxi drivers.

"There's a bit of attitude. Every now and then something will pop up out of the blue, but it did 20 years ago as well.

"Ninety per cent of drunks have gone out, had a good night and just want to get home."

With accommodation in Timaru now having to be booked well in advance to cater for an influx of visitors, it is natural to think the town's only taxi company may be under the pump - especially when major sporting events like the South Island Masters Games are on.

That is not the case, Scott says.

"To be honest the Masters hardly do anything for our business. Many of those here are competing seriously in their sport and drive to where they need to. Most of the teams also have their own minivan.

"The only time we've been busy with the Masters is on the last weekend [with the final party]. In the past we've put on double shifts but our drivers are left sitting in their cars with nothing to do."

So what about pre-booking a taxi?

"We really don't go there. We've tried that in the past and it's turned to custard. People say a time and place and they never show up. We could be doing other jobs instead of sitting there waiting."

The Timaru Herald