It’s New Year’s Eve — the night of overwrought expectations, scratchy sequin dresses, and humanity’s sudden propensity to contemplate paying otherwise-unthinkable cover charges.
And, lest we forget, it’s the most difficult night of the year to hail a taxi; so difficult, in fact, that the task appeared in the original “Sex and the City” film. (Carrie: “Want me to come over? ... I can grab a cab.” Miranda: “On New Year’s Eve? No way.”)
Uber — the smart phone that allows people to hail black town cars, taxis, and personal vehicles with a few taps on a screen — sent an e-mail to Boston customers on Monday, providing a list of tips for obtaining a cab on New Year’s Eve.
One of the most helpful parts of the company’s e-mail was a diagram, shown above, that explains exactly what times of the night prove most difficult ordering a taxi or town car. It’s especially important information for Uber, which uses a controversial form of congestion pricing — Uber calls it “surge pricing,” though some prefer to call it price gouging — that increases the price of a trip several times over during peak-time hours.
“Higher prices bring more cars onto the system when you need them most, and prices return to normal as soon as there are enough open cars,” Uber staff said in the e-mail.
There are other apps that don’t use the same pricing scheme:
“It’s always tricky getting a cab on New Year’s Eve because of high demand and not as many drivers are on duty,” said Toby Ciottone, general manager of Hailo Boston. “Using an app like Hailo certainly helps, as you don’t need to stand out on the cold street to hail it.”
Still, while Uber’s diagram is aimed at giving customers a heads up on surge pricing hours, it may also help all taxi-users time their night for optimal hailing efforts.
12:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Uber said, is the most challenging time of the night to catch a taxi: “Everyone is on the move at exactly the same time.”
So, in theory, if you can tear yourself away from the party just after the ball drops and shoot for that sweet spot between midnight anf 12:15 a.m., you might be able to nab a taxi with ease.
For the old-fashioned types who prefer the analog outstretched-hand-from-the-curb method, Twitter provided some useful tips for hailing a taxi on New Year’s Eve.
Happy #NYE, Tweeps! I'm compiling a list of best tips for catching a cab tonight. Got some pointers for cab-hailing on NewYears? Reply @ me!— Martine Powers (@martinepowers) December 31, 2013
@martinepowers Go to a hotel. You can usually get cabs queued there, have a doorman help, or at least wait under a heated awning.— Daniel A. Guzman (@DGQuoVadimus) December 31, 2013
@martinepowers if you're hailing by Faneuil on Greenway (ugh), stand in cross-streets and turnarounds. You catch then before they turn SB.— Ratty (@HeyRatty) December 31, 2013
@martinepowers never look the people you end up stealing a cab from straight in the eye.— Abbie Ruzicka (@AbbieRuzicka) December 31, 2013
Indeed, there is always the T, which is free after 8 p.m., and open until about 2 a.m. tonight.