Safely home

It’s a crucial part of socialising for many people: enjoying a bottle of wine with dinner, or a couple of cocktails at the bar. But after the bill has been settled and it’s time to find your way home, drinkers are faced with a dilemma. Without a safe, comprehensive public transport system, it’s a choice between leaving your car behind on the street and taking a taxi, or driving under the influence. Despite the fact that the second option is no option at all, it’s something that a large number of South Africans choose. In doing so, they risk destroying their own lives and killing any number of other road users in the process.

In recent years, several taxi companies have popped up, offering a one-way chauffeur service to drive you home in your own car. While many require membership, others will pick you up as and when you need them. A handful of these companies are also offering a safe, women-only pick-up service for female members. So you can have a No Regrets Friday this week, here are five of the largest one-way chauffeur service taxi firms to get you safely home.

Goodfellas 0861 433 552
One of the first taxi companies to offer a pick-up service, Goodfellas works only through membership.
Basic membership: R80 per month.
Cities: Pretoria, Joburg, Cape Town, Durban, George and East London. (They are soon opening up a branch in Bloemfontein.)
Hours: The call centre closes at 2am, but you can be picked up after this time provided you make a booking before the call centre closes.
Women only pick-up? No.
Rate per km: R10.50

Smartguys 0861 762786
They operate on both a membership and an ad hoc basis.
Basic membership: R70 per month for a 12-month contract.
Cities: Joburg, Durban and Cape Town.
Hours: 4pm to 4am for members; 4pm to 2am for non-members.
Women only pick-up? No.
Rate per km: R160 for the first 10 km; R10 thereafter.

Nite Owls +27 0861 6483 695 (NITE OWL)
They operate on both a membership and an ad hoc basis.
Basic membership: R780 annual fee.
Cities: Cape Town and Gauteng. (They plan to operate in Durban in the next month.)
Hours: 24 hour call centre for members; until 2.30am for non-members.
Women only pick-up? Yes.
Rate per km: Members pay R144 for the first 12 km; R12 per km thereafter. Non-members pay R234 for the first 13 km; R13 per km thereafter.

1 Way 021 300 3030
They operate on a membership and ad hoc basis. All vehicles are fitted with a tracker.
Basic membership: R50 per month.
Cities: Greater Cape Town only.
Hours: Call centre is open from 8am to 2am. Pick-ups until 4am provided you book before 2am.
Women only pick-up? Yes, female members can request a female driver when booking.
Rate per km: R12, with a minimum pick up charge of R144 for those with the basic membership package. Other packages offer different rates for shorter journeys.

Roadtrip 0860 76 23 87
Membership only.
Basic membership: R232 per month, including 20 free kilometers.
Cites: Durban, Western Cape, Joburg and Pretoria.
Hours: Monday to Thursday – 5pm to 1am. Friday – 3pm to 3am. Saturday – 4pm to 4am. Sunday – 4pm to 12 midnight.
Women only pick-up? From 1 October, Roadtrip Divas – an all female chauffeur team – will be available for female members.
Rate per km: Basic Tripper membership: R11.60

By Katharine Jacobs

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