New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest times of the year for Regina’s cab drivers and that can lead to long waits for customers trying to find a ride home.
Emery Alberts said she booked a cab online in Regina around noon New Year’s Eve to pick her up at 2 a.m. on Jan. 1.
When the time came, Alberts said she waited for about 10 minutes with her friends outside, but the cab didn’t show.
“I had to give (the company) a call to see how it was going, but of course we couldn’t get through because I’m sure they are pretty busy,” Alberts said.
The Regina woman told 980 CJME between the group, about 30 calls were made to find out when their cab would arrive – to no avail.
After an hour, they got a hold of another taxi company for a ride home.
Alberts said she received a call from the original company around 3:45 a.m. saying a driver was at the pre-booked address to pick them up.
“I get it’s probably the busiest night of the year, but if you have the option to pre-book cabs, it’s like making a reservation at a restaurant, I’d assume if I’m on time I would love it if you guys did the same.”
She said it’s worrisome how difficult it can be to find cabs at peak times because it may encourage people to drink and drive if they are forced to wait outside in cold temperatures.
“Say the bar’s closed, you’re not just going to sit outside in -40 C weather waiting for somebody to return your call or answer the phone or something like that, what other options do we have here?”
The City of Regina said they hadn’t received any formal complaints about the cab service on New Year’s Eve.
“When you think of major events, it definitely will put strain on transportation services,” said Kim Onrait, executive director for City of Regina services.
“The other aspect is that the city is always concerned of people’s well-being and safety during times like this.”
Onrait said while ride-sharing companies could complement the taxi industry during these busy times, it’s impossible to know for sure until the promised legislation has been passed and implemented.
Meanwhile, more people looked for alternate ways to get home on New Year’s Eve.
Free transit program “Ding in the New Year” saw a 22 per cent increase in ridership, with 2,335 people using it in 2017 compared to 1,910 in 2016.