Margaret Key from the Bundaberg Cab Company hopes to have a safe shift on New Year’s Eve.
Margaret Key from the Bundaberg Cab Company hopes to have a safe shift on New Year’s Eve. Mike Knott

Cab drivers get set for New Year's

BUNDABERG'S cab drivers are urging people to be patient while waiting for a taxi ahead of one of their biggest nights of the year.

With hundreds of people heading out to usher in the new year, cabbies will be put under the pump as Bundaberg's party-goers try to get themselves from venue to venue.

Cab owner and former driver Ray Key, who runs a car with wife Margaret, said New Year's Eve was traditionally hectic for cabbies, who were often on the receiving end of customer frustration.

"On any New Year's Eve you pretty much have a fare in the car all the time," he said.

"What happens is that you have twice as many people as you usually have and you can't double the size of the fleet.

"You have a set number of cabs trying to pick up all these people."

Mr Key said most drivers understood why passengers would get frustrated and angry with the wait.

"We are trying to get as many fares in and to the places they need to be on time," he said.

But the volume of people wanting a cab made that challenging.

"As much as we want people to use the business, New Year's Eve might be one of those nights where it is better to make an alternative plan," he said.

Mr Key said often on New Year's Eve cab drivers were not able to get back to the rank as regularly as they would like, as people who had started to walk would hail them down.

"We take the attitude that there is a fare there who is willing and ready to go so we take them where they need to be," he said.

Mr Key said it was not possible to increase the number of cabs in town, even for the busy period.

"A day like today you would have about 30 cabs out and about 20 of those would be vacant at any given time," he said.

"If we increased the numbers all the cabbies would go broke because there is not enough work to go around."

Mr Key said it would still cost the same annually to run a cab part time as it would to run one full time.



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