This World Cup, the Herald will speak to cabbies about the word on the street. Today, meet Deep Sharma, of Auckland's Co-op Taxis.
Is business picking up yet?
Just a fraction. But the last two weeks have been so quiet. Even quieter than normal times. It's been hard times so the World Cup's just coming at the right time.
Which ethnicities are the best tippers?
All people are pretty generous. Except the people who do a runner. I had one woman who took off with a $60 fare. "Bang, bang" the doors shut, I turned around and she was gone.
But you've got a camera now?
Yes, it's very good. Most people are very good, but then there's the customers you get at night. And cameras are better than those cage things, not a good impression. It tells tourists "this place is not safe".
And where are you from?
Delhi. I got my bachelor's, and my masters [in commerce] there. I've worked in an office before, but I find it very hard to be inside. This is a more open environment.
Do you play cricket?
Of course. I used to be a batter.
I liked the pull shot. First ball I used to get out, and say, "no that's a practice ball".
Like W.G. Grace?
Exactly. India could do with me at the moment, couldn't they?
Would that work for rugby?
Well, that's the only way an Indian team would win! But Indians should look into rugby because with such a big population they could do pretty good. It's about 1.3 billion now, so purely by numbers we could get better.
Will you be watching the World Cup?
Yes. I live next to Eden Park. Before, from our house, you could see the giant screen but they've raised the stands up so you can't see anything now. I can raise my window though, and hear the crowd.
Have you been brushing up on your languages?
Well, I speak Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, English. And I can tell if someone's talking in French, but that's all.
How's your Russian?
No good, no good. But I have a friend, who drives buses, who has a diary with every language - how to say hello, goodbye and what to say to a beautiful girl. So I could borrow that.