Beat the roadblocks and arrive alive on New Year’s Eve
NEW Year’s Eve is a time for many things – but not drinking and driving.
Spend time with loved ones, reflect on the past year, and plot resolutions for the next. Celebrate, make merry, but make sure that if you drink, you don’t drive.
Either nominate a designated driver or ensure you get home safely by using taxis (pre-booking is advisable).
There’s also a new option now; if you’re not sure what time to prebook for, and you have a smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry or Android), then why not download the Uber app, a hi-tech and smart alternative to taxis.
Uber, fast becoming a worldwide success, is new to South Africa and operates in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. The app officially launched in Cape Town in October.
Community and marketing manager for Uber Cape Town, Lindsey Elkin, says support is “growing massively” every day, especially during the festive season. It works quite simply: download the app on to your phone, register a credit card (the drivers won’t take cash), open the app when you’re ready to go (no pre-bookings), and you will be connected to the nearest available driver.
When you open the app, you will see an estimated time of arrival. You can track your driver in real time via GPS, and see how near he is to you so you don’t have to stand outside trying to find your driver. You also get a picture of your driver, the car type and licence number.
Within the app, you can phone your driver or send an SMS, and you can split the fare with your friends who are also Uber users. If you can’t download the app, you can also use Uber as long as your phone has internet access, but you must have registered and provided payment information.
All fares are available on its website (www.uber.com/capetown). Uber has a base fare of R15 and charges R11 per kilometre on top of that. The minimum fare for a journey is R50. It might increase its prices if demand is extremely high on New Year’s Eve, as it would need more drivers.
If it does, this would be communicated before the booking is made so you can make a choice, Elkin says.
“It will never just be a surprise at the end,” she says, adding that the payment process is always transparent.
On New Year’s Eve, it plans to have drivers on the road throughout the night.
“Don’t drink and drive. Use Uber to arrive safely and in style,” Elkin advises.
The Arrive Alive website gives a number of road safety tips for the festive season, including knowing the route to your destination, avoiding driving after dark if possible and, of course, no drinking and driving. For the full list, go to www.arrivealive.co.za.
If you really want to take your car, but you don’t want to drive it home, why not use a designated driver service to come and pick both you and your car up wherever you are.
Nite Owls designated driver service has been operating in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg for four years, and is looking at further franchise agreements in other major cities.
“You drink, we drive” is its slogan, and while most clients are members, it is one of the only designated driver companies which offers its service to non-members. Non-members do, however, pay more. It wants people to be able to test the service before committing to membership though.
They will be operating all night on New Year’s Eve – the minimum call-out fee is R500 plus R13 per kilometre for members, and R15 per kilometre for non-members.
Jonas Miller, Nite Owls partner, says the past few New Year’s Eves have been smooth sailing and incident-free. He advises partygoers to be responsible.
“There are services out there that cater for your needs to get home safely,” he says.
For information on its services and membership plans, go to www.niteowl.co.za
Fellow designated driver service 1Way, “your One Way ticket through tonight’s roadblock”, will operate from 4pm until 4am this New Year’s Eve. It operates only in Cape Town, and has been doing so for three years. It, like Nite Owls, drives you home in your own car.
Its rates are based on membership types (you must be a member), and its most popular membership is R50 a month, with a charge of R12 per kilometre on each journey.
Dustin Watson, founder of 1Way, advises people to stick to one venue and organise transport in advance for New Year’s Eve.
The City of Cape Town’s transport authority, Transport for Cape Town (TCT), confirmed at the beginning of this month that the operational hours for MyCiTi buses would be extended during the holiday period – so you have the option of getting the bus to and from your holiday parties, depending on where they are.
On New Year’s Eve, selected MyCiti bus services will be extended, with the last bus departing from the Waterfront at 1am on January 1.
All time tables and route maps are available at www.myciti.org.za, from the mobi-site at mycitibus.mobi, or by calling the Transport Information Centre at 0800 65 64 63.