25 Mar 2011

Taxi companies complain of driver poaching

7:47 pm on 25 March 2011

Small taxi companies in Wellington say the city's largest operator is employing bullyboy tactics to take business from them.

The companies fear they are being pushed out of the market as Wellington Combined Taxis sews up more deals, including a contract to service Wellington Airport and exclusive stands at supermarkets and hotels.

Kiwicabs, Greencabs and Harbour City taxis say Combined Taxis has approached their drivers trying to entice them to switch over - in some cases suggesting that the required tests could be waived.

Greencabs manager Callum Brown says Combined Taxis has offered reduced lease costs and said it would take care of the entire changeover and paint the cars for free.

Combined Taxis says it is operating above board and has had an influx of job applications since expanding its fleet by 50 to 500 last year after securing the airport contract.

Managing director Dave Clyma says it has not been pursuing drivers from other companies.