No, goCatch hasn’t branched out into the online dating market, but after reaching out to some its best taxi drivers, Australia’s number one taxi booking app has put together a list of handy tips that will help you flag down a taxi over the silly season.
“During peak periods or in high traffic areas, fighting for a taxi can often feel like something out of the Hunger Games. goCatch takes the stress out of finding a taxi by putting you in touch with drivers through a reliable, trusted environment,” said goCatch co-founder and CEO Ned Moorfield.
“goCatch gives you a bird’s eye view of the taxis that are available in your immediate vicinity. You can order a cab instantly, track it on a map as it heads towards you, and even call the driver directly if there are any problems.”
1. GO HOME, YOU ARE DRUNK – You may be taking a taxi because you’re too drunk to drive home, but make sure you put your game face on when flagging a taxi. Many drivers will avoid picking up a passenger that looks too intoxicated in the off chance that they vomit in the back seat. “Vomit can be cleaned up fairly quickly, but it’s the smell that lingers,” said one driver, noting that he’d had too many shifts ruined by a puking passenger.
2. HERE’S (NOT) LOOKING AT YOU, KID – It should go without saying that a taxi driver won’t pull over if he or she can’t see you trying to flag them down. “I’ve seen plenty of prospective passengers throw their hands up in frustration when I’ve driven past them, but it’s not that I didn’t want their business – I just didn’t see them in the first place,” complained one driver. If there are cars parked along the kerb, you’re best off stepping onto the street and flagging them down from there.
3. GET INTO POLE POSITION – If you’re standing somewhere that will be difficult for a taxi to stop (i.e. a congested traffic lane), then some drivers will toss you into the too-hard basket and look for an easier passenger. “It’s not hard – just scope out somewhere that a car can stop or pull over safely, and you’ll have a better shot at nabbing a taxi,” one of the drivers said.
4. BE STREET SMART – It doesn’t hurt to be a little strategic about where you flag a taxi. While many taxis will have their lights off in the middle of the CBD during peak periods, you’ll have a better shot of grabbing a taxi from the main entry points into the city. In Sydney, for instance, York or Grosvenor Streets are a good place to get taxis that are coming back in from the Harbour Bridge. Broadway, meanwhile, is an excellent position to nab taxis coming in from the west.
5. BEAT THE QUEUE – Taxi ranks can be convenient when there’s no line and plenty of taxis, but they’re a pain to manoeuvre if you’re loaded down with shopping bags and there are plenty of other people waiting. When demand is outstripping supply, you’re best off walking a block or two away and booking a taxi to pick you up. goCatch uses your smartphone’s GPS feature to automatically input your location and find taxis in your immediate vicinity.
6. RANK AND FILE – On the flip side, it can sometimes be smarter to head to a taxi rank instead of trying to flag down a taxi, especially in the early hours of the morning when you’ll be competing with plenty of other drunken revellers. In Sydney, you can find taxi ranks on Alfred Street in Circular Quay, the Four Seasons Premier Menzies Hotel on Carrington Street, McDonalds on Park Street, the Four Seasons Hotel on George Street, Chifley Towers on Philip Street, Grace Hotel on York Street and the Market Street end of Pitt Street Mall.
7. TIP THE BALANCE – Every little bit helps, and if you need to get to where you’re going quickly and haven’t had any luck flagging or booking a taxi, you’ll have better luck by offering your driver a $5 or $10 tip. GoCatch offers a built-in tipping feature that makes it easy to stand out from all of the other bookings in your area.
8. SHARE THE LOVE – If you’re one of dozens of people trying to get a cab at the end of the night on Darlinghurst Road or Kings Street in Sydney, you’ll boost your chances of getting a cab by pairing up with a stranger that’s headed in the same direction. In these situations, taxi drivers are more likely to pick up larger groups of people in the hope that they’ll each need to be dropped off at different locations.
9. TIME YOUR EXIT STRATEGY – It’s useful to know that taxi drivers typically change over between their shifts at 3am and 3pm. This means you’ll have a harder time getting a taxi in the half hour before each of those times – especially on a Saturday or Sunday morning. You can either work your schedule around those times if you’re relying on a taxi for transport, or you can book a taxi ahead of time. goCatch offers advanced functionality for booking a taxi at a specific day and time.
10. MANAGE THE CROWDS – Two times you’ll be fighting for a taxi is when it rains unexpectedly or you’re trying to get home after a major sporting event or concert. You can skip the thronging crowd by ducking out to a quieter (and drier, in the case of inclement weather) location and booking a taxi.