Likely sighting of rogue taxi driver

Another Dunedin taxi driver is vowing to keep his eyes peeled after a possible fresh sighting of a rogue driver offering rides for fares in the city.

Grab-A-Cab driver Stuart Mathieson, of Dunedin, said he was coming down upper Stuart St towards the Octagon about 9.30pm last Saturday, when a Toyota Starlet went racing past around the upper Octagon.

The car - driven by a man wearing a beanie, and carrying three passengers - went down to the intersection with George St, sailed through a red light and turned left, disappearing along George St at speed, he said.

Mr Mathieson called police at the time to report the dangerous driving, but heard nothing more about the incident.

However, after reading yesterday's Otago Daily Times, Mr Mathieson said he "wouldn't mind betting" the vehicle was driven by the same rogue driver reported by another Dunedin taxi driver.

Mr Mathieson said both the driver and vehicle matched the description, and he had spoken to police again yesterday to voice his concerns.

His report came after an anonymous Dunedin taxi driver told the ODT a rogue driver had been operating an unofficial taxi service most weekends, swooping on late-night revellers trying to hail legitimate taxis on the street and offering them rides home for money.

Some of those approached were left shaken by their encounters with the man, while others - including one young woman - reported being too drunk to realise quite what they were getting themselves into, the driver said.

The claims prompted a warning from Dunedin police this week the driver could have "sinister motives" for offering people rides home.

No direct complaints about his behaviour had been reported to the New Zealand Transport Agency, but Dunedin Taxis manager Simone Green was aware of two similar reports - one last year, and one three weeks ago.

Mr Mathieson said he could understand why some people stuck in taxi stand queues for up to 45 minutes might "jump at any opportunity" to get home, and suspected the man might be making $200 "on a busy night".

However, he also appeared to be a hazard on the road, could be driving without insurance and possibly be a threat to his passengers.

Mr Mathieson would be "keeping an eye out" for the driver in future, and would be telling other Grab-A-Cab drivers to do the same.

He was also thinking of importing a forward-facing camera to install in his taxi, which could help catch the offending driver.



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