Taxi drivers expect busy night in Austin

Published 10:23 am Wednesday, December 31, 2008

If you’re planning on bringing in the New Year with a few pomegranate martinis, some whiskey sours or several bottles of Samuel Adams, Austin’s AB Taxi can help you get home safe.

Whether the destination is a party or a bar and then home after that, AB Taxi and Shuttle Service will be running around the clock tonight for New Year’s Eve, giving residents and visitors options for those who don’t want to drive.

“We probably get between 200 to 300 calls on New Year’s Eve,” said Greg Thompson, AB Taxi owner.

Email newsletter signup

“We’ll be non-stop busy between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.”

In preparation for the holiday, Thompson has stepped up his service.

On the weekdays, he normally runs two taxis, with four on the weekends. Tonight, he’ll run six.

Thompson also said that as long as the weather is good, his taxis will take revelers to locations both inside Mower County as well as outside of it.

“Ninety five percent will stay right in town,” he said. “There will be a lot of bar hopping and a lot of party hopping.”

And the best way to get a taxi, Thompson said, is by going home early.

“Everybody wants to close the bars down,” he said. “Everyone wants to be the last one to leave, and everyone wants to leave at the same time. The best bet is to call before midnight or after 2 to 3 a.m.”

The rules are simple for taxi riders.

While there is no alcohol and no smoking allowed, it’s OK to be having fun, as drivers have grown to expect it.

“Most of the time, they’re harmless,” Thompson said of customers on New Year’s Eve. “I used to drive a taxi, and I used to just laugh. You’d be surprised by some of the things you see and hear.”

Thompson said taxi prices range, of course, depending on destination, but added that taxis that are full (six passengers and a driver) can get to most places around town for around $15 total, or less than $3 a piece.

“For less than the cost of a beer, they can get home,” Thompson said. “It’s a lot cheaper than a DUI.”

Taxi driver Jackie Thompson, Greg’s daughter, said she doesn’t mind working the holiday.

“I like to visit with people,” she said. “Ninety percent of them are pretty decent.”

AB Taxi and Shuttle Service can be reached at 434-9689.