New taxis on the block

Bully Tipene, owner of Cambridge Taxis, doubts there will be enough work for two taxi companies.

A taxi turf war is brewing in Cambridge, with recent changes to legislation opening the door for outside competition in the town.

This week, Hamilton Taxis announced they will send three cars to Cambridge, initially on a Friday and Saturday night but possibly extending that coverage if the demand is there.

Cambridge Taxis’ owner, Ropere (Bully) Tipene, doubts there will be enough work in the town for both companies.  Hamilton Taxis are coming to Cambridge during peak demand, leaving Cambridge Taxis to serve the community during the rest of the week, which is much less lucrative, Bully said. “(Hamilton Taxis) expects us to carry the can from Monday to Friday when there’s hardly any work on…but that’s business, I suppose.”

Changes in place from October 1, mean that taxi operators are no longer required to apply to the New Zealand Transport Authority for special permission to operate in new towns, opening the way for competition.  Also gone from October 1 is the requirement for drivers to have an area knowledge certificate as part of their taxi licence – they can go anywhere.

Hamilton Taxis’ general manager, Andy Collins, said the firm is responding to requests from clients they are already servicing in Cambridge.  “There’s been definite demand from motel owners,” Andy said, adding that previously they couldn’t work in Cambridge unless they had a booking here.

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