Re­mark­able con­nec­tions for tourists

As part of the Mir­ror’s new oc­ca­sional se­ries, ‘60 Min­utes’, reporter Dasha Ku­prienko spent an hour with Queen­stown Con­nectabus driver Greg Arnold.

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS -

He wel­comes you with a smile and a ‘‘hey dar­ling’’.

He’s a Queen­stown Ritchie Con­nectabus driver and he loves his job.

‘‘What an of­fice to have,’’ says Greg Arnold, grin­ning and point­ing at the Re­mark­ables.

Arnold said you had to be a peo­ple per­son to han­dle the work.

His gen­er­ous yet hu­mor­ous ap­proach to­wards his job ex­plains why he fit right in.

‘‘My boss says that I al­ways come to work to amuse my­self,’’ he laughed.

‘‘You can’t take your­self too se­ri­ously.’’

I joined Arnold at 11.30am on Fri­day and he was on the air­port shift.

It was a slow day. Arnold would wait for a cou­ple of min­utes at the main stops, wait­ing for pas­sen­gers to load and some­times not get any­one.

With half a dozen peo­ple on the bus, when we ar­rive at the air­port he opens the door and yells ‘‘Queen­stown Air­port’’.

‘‘You al­ways gotta do that. Be­cause remember that we speak and read in English and not ev­ery­one else does.’’

Tourists from the big ci­ties were used to mas­sive airports and wouldn’t al­ways get off the bus at their des­ti­na­tion.

‘‘Even when you tell them it’s the air­port they look at you like ‘eek I don’t trust you’.’’

As the per­son who deals with thou­sands of driv­ers daily, Arnold de­fends Asian driv­ers, say­ing lo­cals can be ’’just as bad’’.

The worst kind of driv­ers are those on their phones.

‘‘That’s a hate of mine. You see them crawl­ing along 20km an hour with their head down.’’

Be­ing based in Queen­stown, Arnold dealt with a lot of tourists, but ad­mit­ted Aus­tralians were his favourites.

He takes the mickey out of Aussies and vice versa, and ‘‘they love it’’.

‘‘You gotta have a bit of fun with tourists.’’

He also pointed out re­mark­able lo­ca­tions, gave trav­el­ling tips, and prac­ti­cally turned into a tour guide when tourists hopped on the bus.

Be­ing a bus driver in Queen­stown might not be the eas­i­est job, es­pe­cially dur­ing the ski sea­son traf­fic, but Arnold fo­cuses on the pos­i­tives. Like see­ing the moun­tains all day long.

‘‘I do love my job.’’

❚ Let us know your in­ter­est­ing 60 Minute ideas at mir­ror@stl.co.nz

DASHA KU­PRIENKO

Con­nectabus driver Greg Arnold loves his job.

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