With New Year's Eve right around the corner, thousands of party-goers in the capital region are preparing for a night of celebration.

It's typically a holiday enjoyed with a few beverages, and Monday will be the first New Years celebrated under Alberta's new drinking and driving legislation, which came into effect in September. Anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol content between .05 and .08 will immediately have their license and vehicle taken away for three days.

While impaired driving is still a major concern for police, some local pubs say customers have become more aware of their drinking habits.

"We've definitely noticed that patrons are less inclined to indulge in additional rounds of drinks and we've also noticed that groups of patrons will designate a driver to drive them at the end of the meal," said Gillian Hodgson, marketing manager from Mercer Tavern, "(There's) definitely a lot more people asking our staff to arrange a cab ride for them."

With over 1,300 licensed taxis operating in Edmonton, it can still be tough to hail a cab, especially on the busiest night of the year for cabbies.

Wait times of at least one hour can be expected this time of year, according to the city's Chief Livery Officer, Garry Dziwenka. Pre-booking a cab a few hours in advance can help cut that wait time but, it seems many Edmontonians have already planned safe alternatives for their New Year's Eve celebrations.

"We both live right downtown, so we'll walk everywhere," said Nandini Ramachandran, who plans to attend the festivities at Churchill Square.

"We're having (a party) at our house because of the whole cab issue," said Heather Lindsay.

It will be a very busy night and Hodgson encourages everyone to have a safe and responsible New Year's Eve.

"We want people to come out and have a great time but, at the same time there is so much more at risk now, and so we really want to encourage people to leave the keys here if they need to, and we'd do everything we can to arrange for a cab."

As another alternative, ETS will be free from 6:00p.m. on December 31st until 3:30a.m. on January 1st.

Source:  Global News Edmonton


Last updated on: 2012-12-30 | Link to this post