Several businesses have forked over some big bucks to keep the annual Tipsy Taxi program alive in its 26th year, organizers said.
Earlier this month, organizers were uncertain about the program's future because only a few businesses had donated funds to provide free New Year's Eve cab rides.
"We were looking at having to cut back and maybe not being able to offer it for as long or have as many drivers," said Jen Brinkerhoff, a representative of DCCCA, Inc., which organizes Tipsy Taxi. "But fortunately, because of the great community response we've got, we won't have to do that."
International Freight and Logistics Inc., AAA of Lawrence, Briggs Auto Group, Community Mercantile and Johnny's Tavern are among businesses that have made a pledge of $200 or more to the program, Brinkerhoff said.
“This is a great measure to make sure that everybody stays safe,” said Jim Hanni, AAA spokesman.
Ten taxis will hit the streets New Year's Eve into the morning hours of New Year's Day. Taxis can be hailed by calling Ground Transportation Inc., which is providing the service, at 842-TAXI. You can also send a text message to TAB4CAB, where representatives from BriggsAuto.com's Tab for the Cab service will make the call for you.
Last year, the program provided rides to 766 people, at a cost of about $2,000 — an amount Brinkerhoff said already has been collected this year. The program has grown in popularity over the years.
Kansas University will provide its Safe Ride service, which will take students from bars, between 10:30 p.m. New Year's Eve and 2:30 a.m. New Year's Day, said Jill Jess, university spokeswoman.