Being the holiday season there is a lot to celebrate. Businesses are having end-of-year parties, students are celebrating the end of exams and almost everyone will be celebrating the New Year. There is a good chance that there will be some form of alcohol at these events and unfortunately there often seems to be a shortage of designated drivers.
While people don't necessarily plan to drink and drive, it does happen and many road deaths are a result of drunk drivers. Car insurance
companies may not cover drivers involved in accidents if they were drunk. If you are going to be drinking at a party or event this holiday season, we urge you to not drive. If you don't have a friend or family member to act as your designated driver, then we recommend making use of one of the many companies offering a designated driver or taxi collection service. Below is a quick guide to driving services in South Africa, please bear in mind that the service offering may differ from company to company, so please read the fine print on their website and ensure that you understand how each company operates.
How do South African collection / drunk driving services work?
There has been a boom in collection services in South Africa over the past few years, many of whom have reinvented the traditional taxi model to suit South Africa's unique demands. While the model may differ slightly from company to company, they generally operate as follows:
- Most companies will require you to be registered with them before you can make use of the service (don't wait until you need that drive home, plan ahead!).
- Once you are registered you will be provided with a number to call should you require their service.
- You can also pre-book a driver if you know you will be drinking at a particular event and need a lift home.
How do I get home if I have been drinking?
- Some companies offer a door-to-door service, where you will be picked up from your home, driven to the party or event and then collected and driven home.
- Other services may include a chauffeur, who will drive you home in your own car. These chauffeurs are either dropped off at your location, or arrive on a small bike which is loaded into the boot of your vehicle. Once you are safely home, the chauffeur will either get picked up or leave on their bike.
How does the pick-up service compare to a standard taxi or cab?
- The main difference between a designated driver service and a cab is that your car is transported home with you.
- With a traditional cab or taxi, you would need to make additional arrangements to have your car picked up from the venue that you were picked up from.
- If you are a member of a designated driver service and have pre-booked your pick-up, you can rest assured that your lift will be there, where as a taxi or cab service will not always be as reliable.
- Lastly, when using a designated-driver service, you get to ride home in the comfort and familiarity of your own car. Taxi's and cabs are not always as clean and desirable as you might want.
How much does it cost to use a designated driving service?
- Depending on the company, you may be charged a monthly rate for the service, or charged based on distance traveled etc.
- Monthly membership rates can range from around R90 to R700 a month depending on the company and package chosen.
- There are often additional rates depending on the travel distance (from around R8 to R12 per km driven).
- Beware that there might be additional expenses if the driver is kept waiting etc.
Are these designated driving services available in my area?
- Make sure you choose a company that operates in your area
- Once you have chosen a company that operates in your area, check their coverage map and the maximum distance they are willing to drive, to ensure you can use the service
Free Take me Home Services
Certain banks in South Africa are now offering free take me home services depending on what type of account you have with them. Absa offers six Take Me Home services per annum for Gold Value Bundle or Spouse Value Bundle Account holders and eight Take Me Home services per annum for Platinum Value Bundle or Spouse Value Bundle Account holders. FNB also offers a similar service where Petro Cardholders have access to six free trips per annum. Standard Bank is offering all personal current account customers access to a concierge service to drive them home safely. Their Take Me Home service is available within a 30 km radius of city centres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, George, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, and Polokwane.
Who is offering this designated-driver service?
Here are a number of companies to choose from, as mentioned before though, be sure to check the fine-print and the terms and conditions of the contract/registration that you are entering. Please note that these companies are listed simply as a guide, Cars.co.za does not endorse any of them.
(They have an App for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone)
1 For the Road