Secrets to getting a cab on New Year's Eve

The clock has struck midnight. You've found someone to kiss at that crucial moment when the new year began. The final bottle of champagne has been glugged.

All that is left is to get home, curl up and hope to sleep through the inevitable hangover.

But with sore feet, fuzzy heads and few late-night public transport options, all your fellow revellers will be eyeing the streets for that one elusive available taxi.

Meantime, the cab drivers are scoping out potential fares to see who is most likely to pay and least likely to chunder on the back seat.

The Illawarra Mercury spoke to drivers and got some tips from the goCatch taxi booking app to give you the best chance of making it home safely.

• Don't look intoxicated, as many drivers do not want to take the chance of picking up vomiting passengers, which can ruin an entire shift. "On night shifts, I will stop 100 metres in front of where the customer is standing and make them walk, so I can see if they're too drunk," one driver said. Unanderra taxi driver Mousa Sawan said drunk passengers could also be violent.

• Don't wait in the centre of town or at taxi ranks, such as Hotel Illawarra, Glasshouse, Grand Hotel, the train station and Burelli Street. Try to flag a taxi as it is heading back to the CBD from a suburban drop-off. Some drivers prefer to stay away from the ranks, as they are obligated to pick up the first customer, regardless of their intoxication level.

• Single drunk female passengers raise a red flag for some drivers. One driver claimed it was common for women who did not want to pay the fare to falsely accuse drivers of crimes. But Mr Sawan said he had installed a camera in his taxi last year, giving him proof against any accusations.

• Suburb stereotypes were a factor for some drivers, who said fare evaders were more common in rough areas. "A dead giveaway that a passenger may run away without paying the fare is when they look at my face before entering - they are trying to see whether I'm an easy target," one driver said. Even the nicest passengers sometimes try to evade the fare. "You can't trust anyone, even if they look nice. You have to ask them to pay straight away," Mr Sawan said.

• Booking in advance and adding a tip can help guarantee a taxi, especially if travelling short distances or when it is raining.

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