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.
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.’’
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Connectabus driver Greg Arnold loves his job.