So Christmas is upon us and there are only 13 days to go. Everyone will be winding down from work and probably focusing on gifts to give and menus to prepare. If you are not one of these people, then you will be focusing on lists to make and food to eat. This is also the time where most of Melbourne’s work force are found in pubs and bars by 4:30pm. Christmas parties iswill be happening all over and then this afterwork drinks turns into later into the night. Of course, since companies assume that their employees have a life outside of work, they will be holding the Christmas parties on weekdays. Oh the hangover from hell. But that’s not the point. The point is, the closer it gets to Christmas, the harder it is to get a cab. Sure, Melbourne’s public transportation network is fantastic. You got the trams, the trains and also buses, which is the ugly little brother of public transport. Basically, it’s already there and you just have to live with it. I’m sure it will come in handy some time.

So going back to cabs. If you haven’t used one of Melbourne’s cabs, you will be surprised by three things: One, most cab drivers have no idea where they are going. Two, most cab drivers love talking on their mobile phone while driving and three, a few of them can refuse to let you in their cabs because they you either live too far away or too close to make it worthwhile. By “far away”, it means that your house is located in an area that they cannot get another fare to bring back to a happening place, i.e., lots of drunks who need to get home. And by “too close” it means that the meter is not going to hit $10. So we are sort of at the mercy of cab drivers whether they want to let you in or not. Of course these actions, specifically, 2 and 3, are against the charter of service but I haven’t heard of any cab driver being reprimanded. ┬áSpeak to them during the rest of the year and they are all complaining about business being slow. ┬áBut we don’t need to delve into that.

So what do you do if you can’t get a cab? If you are in the city and close to a 4.5 to 5 star hotel, ask their concierge to get you a cab. The drivers won’t be able to say no. And all decent hotels will have a cab company on speed dial. Or if you did not lose your mobile phone during the course of the evening, you can download cab companies apps: 13CABS and Silver Top Taxi and input the address of where you are. This is a faster way than calling their numbers during busy times…and then you wait…. and wait…. and wait. The apps also lets you know that the cab you have booked is approaching. The downside to it is that it only gives you a 30 second warning between the text and when the cab toots. So make sure you have less than two gulps of beer in your glass or less than a mouthful of that crispy fried something. This is certainly better than walking aimlessly for 45 minutes trying to find a cab and then having to convince a cab driver that you really need his help to get home.