Archive for Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tipsy Taxi, with ridership still high on New Year’s Eve, looking toward St. Patty’s Day

January 15, 2013


Tipsy Taxi has taken so many people home safely on New Year's Eve that organizers are thinking of expanding the program to St. Patrick's Day.

This year, 688 partygoers found a safe ride home with the free taxi service offered each year by DCCCA, a Lawrence-based drug and alcohol treatment provider. That's fewer than the 877 people who dialed the service at 842-TAXI in 2011, but still hundreds more than past years.

Jen Jordan, DCCCA's director of the regional prevention center, said she attributed the dip in this year's numbers to cold and snowy New Year's Eve weather that kept some folks at home. And despite that, the service has seen a big increase in riders since 2009 and 2010, when Tipsy Taxi carried 400-420 people each year.

The greater turnout recently, Jordan said, was helped when vans were added to the taxi fleet in 2011 by the professional taxi service DCCCA partners with. DCCCA contracts with Ground Transportation Services, a Lawrence taxi and shuttle service to do the driving.

Along with those higher ridership numbers, Tipsy Taxi is raising more money and contemplating expanding the service to other holidays that tend to leave some people unfit to drive and unable to walk a straight line. Usually, Tipsy Taxi barely raises $2,000, which is about what it costs to provide the service. But this year, donors from the community have already given $2,385 to the service and more is coming in.

Jordan said she hopes those contributions will exceed $4,000, which might allow Tipsy Taxi to finance an expansion to St. Patrick's Day.

Tipsy Taxi services, if expanded, would be redesigned to fit a different holiday. For instance, a St. Patrick's Day Tipsy Taxi service would probably be available during daytime hours, when more people are partying, as opposed to the late-night services on New Year's Eve.

Jordan said she likes to think of Tipsy Taxi as one successful program among others across the state that have led alcohol-related car accidents to decline over the past two years in Kansas. Douglas County, for instance, reported 150 such crashes last year, down from 170 in 2011 and 215 in 2010, according to data collected by the FakeID 101 task force, a partnership of DCCCA, local law enforcement and the Kansas Department of Transportation.


Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

Taking drunk drivers off the roads makes sense, but its merely a drop in the bucket when promoted only two days per year. Why not expand the program to weekends, and charge a very nominal and reasonable fee per ride. Otherwise, we are merely enabling folks to get wasted on the two biggest party days of the year. If they can afford to drink, they can afford a few bucks for a ride home. A regular program could be funded by increasing the usual fines on city dui convictions, and an increased but reasonable tax on alcoholic beverages sold at bars and clubs.

Another idea for funding. How bout bars being required to issue a ticket with every drink purchased, with each ticket redeemable that night only for x amount per ticket towards the fee for a ride home. Each bar would have a unique ticket, and the bar would then be charged for the tickets it issues which are actually redeemed. Businesses which profit from the sale of intoxicating liquors should help bear the costs of the social ills they create.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 5 months ago

Using this logic, it's only fair that Pepperjax is forced to buy its customers all the toilet paper they'll need for when they get home.

local_support 5 years, 5 months ago

For the first suggestion, they have expanded the program to other days of the year. Call that same number and a taxi will be dispatched to pick you up wherever you happen to be and will take you wherever you want to go. All for only a few bucks.

Your second suggestion seems complicated and cumbersome. Bars issue a ticket, each with its own unique identifier that are given to patrons for each drink purchased. Then, these presumably inebriated patrons give all these tickets they have accumulated over the course of the night to the taxi driver, who then later cashes these tickets in with the establishment, which is responsible for paying for the cost of these vouchers. How about instead of punishing small businesses people instead take a little personal responsibility if they are going to get sloshed. They can either pay for the cab themselves, arrange for a designated driver, or (gasp) walk home.

Ignignokt 5 years, 5 months ago

"hey have expanded the program to other days of the year. Call that same number and a taxi will be dispatched to pick you up wherever you happen to be and will take you wherever you want to go. All for only a few bucks."

Isn't that just called a normal taxi?

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