Dunedin Taxis go 'bubble'

Some of New Zealand's biggest taxi co-operatives have formed an alliance that will make them the biggest shared-livery passenger service in the country.

Dunedin Taxis has joined the Wellington Combined Taxis-led alliance, which also includes industry heavyweights Auckland Co-op Taxis and Christchurch's Blue Star Taxis.

Dunedin Taxis will abandon its yellow and black stripe for blue-green signs and a bubble-style roof sign when the brand is launched at the Taxi Federation conference next month.

Dunedin's owner-drivers voted to join the alliance in July but the details were only confirmed by Dunedin Taxis yesterday after a flurry of calls from sources in the industry.

Company chairman Tony Ross said the move would not affect fares: the alliance was not a business partnership, and the company would retain its name and independence.

The driver-owned company would benefit from the collective marketing experience of some of the industry's biggest players under a common-brand "marketing tool".

The companies dominated their markets, which should mean more business from visitors familiar with the alliance livery, Mr Ross said.

They might also be able to use the brand to offer pan-region services when tendering for big corporate or government contracts, Mr Ross said.

Companies pay a marketing fee and their own rebranding costs, which were "marginal" compared with the benefits of being in the alliance and of "finally getting rid of the old-fashioned look".

The Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch taxi companies already have a formal relationship outside the alliance: Companies Office records show they are the sole shareholders of Blue Bubble Taxis.


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