Taxi driver makes $2,300 onselling council parking permit

by Lauren Pattemore - Feb 15, 2024

Sought-after permits that give vehicles the right to park in the council's designated taxi ranks are being resold for more than five times their original price.

These Small Passenger Service Vehicle (SPSV) Rank permits cost $500 each year to obtain from the Queenstown Lakes District Council, but Crux has seen one driver resell theirs for $2,800.

A taxi whistleblower has told Crux that the taxi-rank passes are in such high demand that those in possession of one can charge what they like - hence why one has been resold with a 460 percent increase with just seven months left of use. 

Sold for $2800 with seven months left to use it.

They say it happens when a vehicle registered as a taxi with the council is sold.

The scalping-like behaviour runs relatively unchecked by QLDC, which introduced the permits in 2019 as a way to regulate scab cabs and out-of-towner taxis.

"Permits are attached to each registered vehicle which is then monitored by CCTV at taxi ranks," a Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesperson says.

The council requires notification of any transfer of a permit between holders.

"But we do not ask for information regarding the commercial value of any transaction," the spokesperson says.

Prior to the permits being introduced in 2019, there was nothing to prevent unregulated drivers from rocking up to Queenstown and charging passengers high prices for short trips.

Now, unregistered cabs caught parking in designated taxi ranks will receive a $40 fine for every offence.

It was a measure heavily advocated for by Queenstown Taxis.

The council's system allows for permits to be applied for each year in June, and the last round saw approximately 200 drivers apply for the 150 available.

Since there are more drivers than permits, industry newcomer Otago Cabs has taken to parking its vehicles on Beach Street, reopened after the CBD street upgrades as a shared zone, and effectively using it as their taxi rank.

Company manager Gurpreet Singh told Crux last week his drivers are parking there because they are unable to use official taxi ranks in Queenstown after applying for the permits in the last application round and missing out.

The QLDC has recently put seven new CCTV cameras along Beach Street to monitor this behaviour. 

Main image (file photo): Taxis line up at the Camp Street taxi rank. 

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