Safe ride services for UNM students to use rather than driving drunk
by Todd Rohde
If you plan on drinking more than your share of spiked eggnog this holiday season, you’d better plan accordingly and designate a sober friend to drive you home. Better yet, you and your friend could both have a good time and let one of Albuquerque’s safe ride services take care of the ride home. The Daily Lobo compiled profiles of safe ride services in the Albuquerque area.
The Party-Trolley is the brainchild of UNM student Paul Aitken, who said he got the idea after spending some time in Europe and taking note of their transportation services. He said that upon returning home, he noticed a lack of group transportation services and decided to solve the problem.
Aitken said he started the Party-Trolley in 2011 to ease the worry of having to find a designated driver. He said the trolley allows for a fun-filled, guilt-free night of drinking for all.
“The Party-Trolley is just a fun, safe and smart alternative to driving drunk,” he said.
Aitken said the system is a shared-ride transportation service, and is the only group taxi in the United States. He said the trolley has a new bus, which is twice as big as the first one, and thus twice as fun.
Aitken said passengers are able to dance, write on the chalkboard walls and enjoy the company of their friends in the club-like atmosphere of the trolley.
“The bus has a new seating arrangement as well as a stripper pole,” he said. “The other reason that people think it is so crazy is because the walls are covered in graffiti.”
Aitken said each person is charged for safe ride services anywhere in Albuquerque and that the charges range from $5 to $10 each way.
He said there’s a $0.50 service charge for paying with a credit card and that tipping the driver is required.
To contact the Party-Trolley, call or text (505) 433-7386.
The Ride Guys
The Ride Guys founder Stacy Woodard established the safe ride company in 2003 in Flagstaff, Ariz., in an effort to make the streets of Flagstaff a safer place. With a crew of drivers, called Ride Guys, and a foldup scooter that he could fit into people’s cars, Woodard and his team could help drive intoxicated individuals home in their own vehicles.
Ride Guy Joshua Weitz said the company grew substantially, so Woodard brought the company to Albuquerque. He said Woodard chose Albuquerque because the city has one of the worst DWI problems in the country.
Weitz said each Ride Guys team consists of two people. One Ride Guy drives the to the customer while the other Ride Guy follows, picking up the fellow team member once the passenger has been safely dropped off.
“The idea is that people can call us if they have had too much to drink, and one of our teams will drive them home,” Weitz said.
Serving both the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho areas, The Ride Guys operate every day from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. The company charges $20 for the first five miles and $25 for six to 10 miles. For rides 10 miles or farther, the charge is $30 plus $2 per additional mile after 10 miles.
To contact The Ride Guys, call (505) 652-4763.
If you don’t want to pay for a safe ride home, you or one of your friends could be the designated driver and let the Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (COSAP) know for a chance to win prizes.
COSAP Director John Steiner said Designated Lobos launched earlier this semester and recognizes students who make sure their friends get home safely after a night of drinking.
“We basically reward those students who step up and decide that they will be the designated driver for their friends,” he said.
Steiner said students are given a red Designated Lobos wristband, and if they take a picture of themselves wearing it while being responsible and post it to the UNM COSAP Facebook page, they will automatically be entered to win movie passes valued at $10 each, Lobo Cash, iTunes gift cards or a trip to Las Vegas, Nev.
“We want to encourage students to do the right thing and we have integrated the use of social networking websites to make us more student-friendly,” he said.
He said the UNM COSAP Facebook page also gives students information about DWI checkpoints in the Albuquerque area. To participate in Designated Lobos, visit facebook.com/UnmCosap.