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Archive for Thursday, January 7, 1999

FREE TAXI SERVICE BUSIER THIS YEAR

January 7, 1999

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Around 200 people got a free ride ringing in the new year.

Tipsy Taxi provided an estimated 150 rides home to 200 people on New Year's Eve and into the early hours of New Year's Day.

"We took home a lot more people this year than last year," said Mike Jalali, co-owner of Lawrence Taxi Service. "We were busier overall."

Tipsy Taxi gave free, one-way rides home to revelers who had too much to drink, from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to 6 a.m. Jan. 1. The program, which is in its third year, is sponsored by the taxi service and several businesses and agencies in the area.

Jalali wasn't sure why use of the service was up this year.

"I think more people have heard about it," he said. "Last year by about 3 a.m., I was able to go home because it slowed down. This year it didn't slow down at all."

New Year's Eve is the biggest night of the year for the taxi service, for paid and unpaid rides. Seven drivers and cabs were in service until early in the morning.

"It's once a year," Jalali said. "I don't mind."

Lawrence police arrested five drivers for operating under the influence that night. Sgt. George Wheeler said the free rides have cut down on violations significantly.

"We do arrest less people since the program began," he said.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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