THE Capital’s night-time economy is gearing up for a major boom as thousands of festive revellers flood into the city centre for the busiest night of the year.
Publicans, police officers and taxi drivers are braced for a hectic weekend of alcohol-fuelled Christmas parties, known in the bar trade as “Super Saturday”.
Warnings have been issued to drink sensibly and remain part of a group, while posters have been mounted across the city pinpointing the locations of late-night bus stops and taxi ranks.
Tonight is the final Saturday before workplaces break up for the holidays and is traditionally a bumper payday for bars, nightclubs and taxi drivers.
But with the city packed with party-goers, hospitals are also expecting a busier than usual weekend, while increased police patrols will be in force to reassure the public and curb criminal behaviour.
Inspector Gill Geany, from Lothian and Borders Police, said: “Edinburgh city centre is a great place to visit for a night out, and we are keen that people enjoy themselves over the festive season.
“It is advisable for people to ensure their mobile phone is fully charged before they go out, and if for any reason you lose your mobile, then you should keep a list of emergency numbers and some spare change if you need to make a call.
“I would also urge people to remain in the company of their friends and, if possible, to make arrangements to travel home together at the end of the night.”
Raymond Davidson, secretary of Edinburgh Taxi Association, said despite a quiet build-up cabbies were expecting a raucous evening.
He expects city’s entire taxi fleet will be on duty to capitalise on the climax of the Christmas party season.
“It’s not been as busy as it could be, possibly because of the weather or the fact people are saving their money for tonight,” he said.
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trades Association, said: “It’s probably going to be the busiest day of the year for pubs and clubs. A lot of people will be out and about and we urge people to drink responsibly.
“I have heard this night called mad Saturday and black Saturday – but it’s Super Saturday. It’s not just about people going out and getting drunk, it’s about socialising and so should be a super Saturday rather than a black Saturday.
David Farquharson, medical director, NHS Lothian, said: “Winter is always a very busy time for our hospitals, especially the emergency department, and we plan ahead accordingly. We have robust measures in place to help deal with increases in the number of patients throughout the season.”
A pocket guide – Good Nights Out, Get Home Safely – is available to download on the Lothian and Borders Police website.