RI firefighters offer free rides on New Year's Eve

Safe Night program aims to reduce the number of potential drunk drivers by offering rides home


Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Providence firefighters are offering free rides home within the city to New Year's Eve revelers.

The rides home from city bars and restaurants are being offered between 6 p.m. on Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday by Providence Fire Fighters IAFF Local 799 to destinations within the Providence city limits.

"We are sworn to keep city residents safe, and take that oath very seriously," said Local 799 President Paul Doughty. "We are launching Safe Night in an effort to cut down on the number of potential drunk driving accidents by offering free rides from Providence bars and restaurants to residents who may not be able to make it home safely on their own."

The Safe Night program is in its fourth year. Because a limited number of off-duty Providence firefighters will be available to field calls and offer rides, delays can be expected. For a safe ride home, citizens should call (401) 272-7999.

Taxis, and app-based ride services such as Lyft and Uber, are other options for celebrants who are too impaired to drive home.

Uber warned that increased demand on New Year's Eve will likely mean higher fares, but "we show riders the price before they request a ride, so they always know how much they'll pay," so "there are no surprises."

"Riders will be asked to confirm the higher fare before they request," the company said. "The best bet is to avoid riding between midnight and 3 a.m." when "fares will likely be the highest." Uber suggested friends share rides to save money.

Beaba Tunde of Sugar Daddy Taxi said cab fares remain the same, whether business is busy or not. "We're not like Uber," he said.

Ed Bernard, a dispatcher with Yellow Cab in Cranston, said cabs aren't as busy on New Year's Eve as they used to be. Many young adults use Uber and Lyft, which has cut deeply into the bottom line of cab companies, he said, and many cabs stay in business by taking elderly people to medical appointments.

Uber also urged customers to avoid "imposter drivers" by making sure the car make/model/license plates match what's in the app, and confirm the driver's name and appearance matches the driver information and photo in the app.

Copyright 2017 Providence Journal

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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