Bill Overton (left), of United Taxis, and Merv Whiston, of
City Taxis, have merged companies to form City United
Taxis. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Rivals within Dunedin's taxi community have joined ranks.
United Taxis owner and operator Bill Overton has merged his
company with City Taxis, and will now work alongside his
former competitor Merv Whiston.
Mr Overton (71) said his health was failing and it was time
for him to pull back from fulltime work.
He has been appointed director of City United Taxis.
''Hopefully, this will make life a bit easier,'' he said.
Mr Overton had driven taxis in Dunedin for 42 years and
became involved with United Taxis in the 1990s.
He specialised in providing transport for mobility-impaired
passengers and had a fleet of ''total mobility vehicles''.
Mr Whiston, chairman of City Taxis, said the addition of
those vehicles strengthened the new company's combined fleet
of about 60 vehicles.
''It fitted our niche market,'' he said.
City Taxis had operated in Dunedin for about 60 years and it
made ''excellent business sense'' to integrate with United
Taxis, in what was a competitive market during hard economic
times, Mr Whiston said.
Most staff had been retained in the merger, under which all
operations were based at the existing City Taxis depot in
The company will expand into adjacent office space, and Mr
Overton will end his lease of the United Taxis depot in
Both companies' existing phone numbers directed customers to
the combined dispatch team.
''We are pretty thrilled with the merger all round. It will
be wonderful for Dunedin because we can provide a better and
faster service,'' Mr Whiston said.