'Tuktuks' coming to a street near you

'Tuktuks' coming to a street near you

They're a common sight in Asia and offer one of the cheapest and most adventurous means of transport.

Now the humble tuktuk is making its way to New Zealand.

A tuktuk and the Sky Tower - not a common sight together, yet.

Graeme Rivett has imported three electric tuktuks to cart around cruise ship tourists, starting in a few weeks.

"People love them," he says. "They turn heads. People are smiling, they're giving us the thumbs up, 'Well done. These are great.' And [we get] a lot of questions."

In Wellington, brothers Glen Varcoe and Jeremy Marr are also about to launch their hop-on/hop-off tuktuk tour service.

"In the city, a good, quick 45-minute round-trip to show them the main sights of what Wellington's got to offer," says Mr Marr.

The Thai-made machines have a range of up to 100 kilometres on a charge and are the same model used by three Frenchmen last year to travel 20,000 kilometres through 16 countries in a trip to raise awareness on climate change and clean energy.

Mr Rivett, who used to run cycle taxis in London, swears the electric tuktuks are nothing like the rusty and rackety machines common in Asia.

Mr Rivett says the tuktuks are fun, safe, and very comfortable to travel in. So could they be used as a viable means of transport like they are in many parts of the world?

"No, no that's not our intention," he says. "There's enough taxis to cater to that."

But he says there's plenty of room to grow his tourism fleet in the coming years.

"Twenty-five to 30 here in Auckland - so we're starting small but I think the potential here to grow is massive."

If he's right, Auckland could become the City of Sails - and tuktuks.


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