Taxi Drivers Offer Safe Route Home On New Year's Eve

Before you get behind the wheel, Ron Tomlinson wants to be your designated driver.

"It doesn't really get started til 8 or 8:30. After that, it's non-stop," Tomlinson said.

New Year's Eve should be the busiest night of the year for Tomlinson sand other Jackson County Cab Company drivers. They'll be cruising the streets to pick up passengers, giving holiday revelers a safer option than they've had in years.

"It's a shame there wasn't any cab service for two years after Katrina. People needed a way to go. But I just hope now they'll realize we're available again and at their service," Tomlinson said.

If your New Year's Eve travels take you to Ocean Springs, you won't have to open your wallet at the end of the night. The Jackson County Cab Company is providing free rides within the city limits from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. to help keep drunk drivers off the streets.

Traveling to other cities will cost you, but company owner Daniel Turner says it's worth it.

"It's cheaper to pay $30 now and save almost $7,000 or $8,000, than it is to get a ticket," Turner said.

Sometimes cabbies go beyond the call of duty to make sure their patrons make it home.

"A lot of times he used to stop at KFC, get a bucket of chicken. At Taco Bell, get some tacos to last him a few days. Then it got to a point I'd ask him to take his keys, unlock his padlock, he'd crawl in, I'd shut the door behind him, and I'd leave," Tomlinson said.

So even if you've had too much fun, Tomlinson promises his cab will be waiting to roll out, so you can roll in to a safer 2008.

The Jackson County Cab Company, based in Ocean Springs, and the Southern Coast Taxi, based in Gulfport, will be offering free rides within the Ocean Springs city limits on New Year's Eve. You can contact either company at (228) 762-3001 and (228) 875-7198.