Jamie Forzato, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Everyone wants to get home for the holidays. So if you plan to toast the New Year with a few glasses of champagne, you might want to take advantage of a free cab ride, funded by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program.
Kurt Erickson, the President of WRAP, says don't drive - get a free cab with SoberRide. The program kicked off on Dec. 14th and will run each night until New Year's Eve from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.
Erickson says the program has kept more than 55,000 people safe during high-risk holidays since 1993. The weeks leading up to and including New Year's Eve are especially successful.
"Last year, we did almost 400 rides just on New Year's Eve alone, translating into the removal of would-be drunk driver off of greater Washington roadways every 72 seconds," Erickson says. "I expect similar ridership this year."
If you choose to use SoberRide, Erickson says you won't have to wait longer than you would if it was a regular ride because the cab companies are incentivized to pick up customers in a timely manner.
"The request comes up as a paid ride for the cab companies, even though it's free for the user," Erickson says.
The program will pay up to $30 for each ride. To take advantage of the program, you must be 21 and in the Washington metro area. Call 1-800-200-TAXI or dial #WRAP on any AT&T wireless phone.
The calls must originate in the Washington area, which include D.C., Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland, and Arlington, Fairfax, eastern Loudoun and Prince William counties in Virginia
The service is also available during St. Patrick's Day, Independence Day, and Halloween.
WRAP contracts nine cab companies to provide the free rides. The cab company that is closest to where the call is placed will be dispatched to the location. The charitable organization pays about $50,000 for the cab fares annually with the help of paid sponsors.
Erickson says the SoberRide program is making our roads safer.
"Nationally, 31 percent of all traffic deaths are caused by drunk drivers. Here in Washington, it's 27 percent," Erickson says. "That's 27 percent too many but in a good way, we're below the national average."
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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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