Thursday night is New Year’s Eve, one of the two biggest nights for the taxi industry. If you have ever tried to get a taxi on New Year’s Eve, you know that it can be difficult. People experience long hold times on the phone, and long wait times to be picked up, no matter what taxi company they call. It is a simple case of demand completely overwhelming supply.
New Year’s Eve is a holiday that nearly everyone celebrates, and almost always with alcohol. People drink on other holidays like Independence Day and Valentine’s Day, but New Year’s Eve is special. Whether going to a bar or to a private party, most everyone has some drinks, and on this night, taxi demand peaks. There simply aren’t enough taxis in all of Pinellas County to service the demand of downtown St. Petersburg alone, let alone Clearwater, the beaches, and the northern county. Taxi companies know this, and because it is such a busy and profitable night, they schedule every car in their fleets to be running that night. Be assured that every available car will be working on New Year’s Eve.
Even so, you can expect to wait. There simply aren’t enough cars.
However, there are a few things you can do to minimize this problem. The best thing is to cultivate a relationship with a taxi driver you know and trust. Many taxi driver’s give preferential service to their regular customers, especially customers that are known to be good tippers, and this can mean the difference between waiting 20 minutes or waiting 2 hours on New Year’s Eve. If you have a driver you use regularly, call him a day or two beforehand and see if he can schedule your pickup. He may or may not be able to do that; it’s hard sometimes to make appointments in this business.
Also, try to go home a little early. Starting at midnight, wait times increase. Try to go home between midnight and 1 AM at the latest. If you stay until the bars close, finding a taxi will be more difficult.
Also, try to not over-indulge. If you look really drunk to a taxi driver, he may well pass you up so he can pick up someone who looks less intoxicated. Intoxicated people can burn up a driver’s valuable time, and smart taxi drivers want to drive people that won’t be a problem, know where they are going, and will allow the driver to get on to the next customer quickly. It’s just a fact of this business.
You MIGHT reduce your wait time by using a rideshare company like Uber, but not by much. They will be slammed too, but the difference is that their “surge” rates will be 5, 6 or even 9 times the cost of a conventional taxi. And with their unprofessional drivers and questionable insurance coverage, it really isn’t worth the risk, especially at that high cost. Don’t forget that there will be a glut of drunk drivers on the road. It is always safer to ride with a professional driver, an inspected vehicle, and proper commercial insurance. Call us at 727 379-4440, and ride with the professionals.
Our entire staff at Downtown Yellow Taxi wishes you a safe and happy holiday, and a prosperous 2016!