Drink-driving awareness is good news for taxis in busy festive week

Taxi service companies said that users have increased since drink driving campaigns became more frequent

Taxi service companies are expecting a positive festive week, despite the less celebratory Christmas in Malta.

While the political crisis has dampened the usual Christmas cheer, Malta’s burgeoning taxi industry, whose smartphone apps allow clients to book almost instant pick-ups, say sales are still stead.

ECabs chief marketing officer Simon Debono said the company’s projections look positive till the end of the year, a sentiment shared among other cab companies.

A John’s Garage representative said the company was nearly fully-booked for Christmas and New Year, despite a slight drop in sales over the last weeks of the crisis.

“During the last week of November, we did see a slight reduction in sales, but we were able to recover, and our forecasts are already looking positive and we are expecting numbers to grow,” he said.

Dillon Spiteri, owner of newly-opened Bonju Cabs, said his fledgling company has already registered a large number of customers for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

All companies said the increase in users can be attributed to an improved culture surrounding drink driving.

“It shows a good level of maturity that the market is experiencing in an ever-increasing culture of grabbing a cab and the convenience that this gives. A more educated market takes the right decisions in terms of drink-driving,” eCabs’ rep Simon Debono said.

Last year, the government slashed alcohol limits in an effort to curb drink-driving.

The legal blood alcohol content limit was cut from 0.08g of alcohol per litre of blood to 0.05g for all drivers, while stricter limits were applied for motorcyclists and new drivers.

Transport Malta has already launched its drink driving campaign, in an effort to better educate drivers in not driving after consuming alcohol during festivities.

“I think people have started to realise that with all the expenses that they have during this time of the year, that extra €10 isn’t that bad,” Dillon Spiteri said.

“While the country has improved its mentality on drink-driving, I still see people resorting to driving their personal vehicles under the influence during the rest of the year. I appeal to the police to start carrying out road-blocks more frequently, as I feel it is the only way people are truly deterred from drink-driving.”

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