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Local Business

They are everywhere – a formidable taxi service

This describes the work of Michelle and Phil Butler, owners of Whit City Cabs, based in Whitianga but on the move across the Coromandel peninsula and parts of the Waikato.
 |  The Informer  | 

The new total mobility van now owned by Whiti City Cabs and Whitianga Social Services provide the Total Mobility cards for a 70 per cent fare reduction; Michelle and Phil Butler, right.

You can see them at the local airport but also at Auckland and Hamilton airports for passenger transfers or taking visitors to their destination or returning people to their home after a vacation or business trip.

Late at night they are servicing the local pubs and restaurants getting people home safely. They are seen at Thames Hospital even Waikato Hospital. They are asked to deliver groceries, flowers, pick up a meal and take it to a home address (“Tucker’s Up,” delivers food from the restaurants in Whitianga to locations throughout Whitianga and as far out as Wharekaho, from 5:00pm until 8:00pm Monday to Sunday.) This service also ferries people from home to shop or from home to a medical centre and return; and finally available for private hire for a party or wedding or milestone celebration.

New total mobility van

Whiti City Cabs has a large taxi van and a normal car size taxi. Then there is the large Barrier Air van and now, there is a new vehicle in the small fleet of Whiti City Cabs and – their total mobility van. This is the vehicle that has taken almost eight years of preparation to reach fruition. It can carry wheelchair travellers and additional members of the family for short and long excursions.

Phil and Michelle are very pleased to offer this service to the community. It is an important development and the 70% reduction in fares is now a practical reality with the total Mobility Card process being facilitated by Whitianga Social Services. Tony Marsters, Manager of Whitianga Social Services, spoke about this at a recent Grey Power AGM and luncheon. Once this card is obtained, then Whiti City Cabs provides the transport to which the person is entitled.

The van is compact and very comfortable. It is not an attention grabber which is what Phil and Michelle believe is important to the people for whom they provide the passenger service.

“In a small town, our work is about more than providing a service,” says Michelle.

“It is important to be willing to do the little things to help and sometimes doing a favour in good faith. People might not be carrying a means to pay when they are in a spot, but generally make good after the event.”

Sometimes a job starts off small but grows into a long journey with a series of appointments or errands.

“We operate a market-friendly and simple fare structure. It is the same in the high season as it is in the quieter times and we have all the variety of ways to pay for passenger convenience,” says Michelle.

Whiti City Cabs refer to themselves as a “mobile information centre,” for out of town visitors who get into their cabs and ask all manner of things. Phil and Michelle have learned a lot about places, what to do and where to go from all the people they carry in their vehicles. “It’s over seven years, we have provided our very versatile and readily available taxi service,” says Phil.

“This is our home and in many ways we are at home driving our vehicles and carrying people where they need to go.”