Pierce County DUI task force’s taxi program

Fun-seekers heading for 6th Avenue’s nightclubs this Saturday night in Tacoma will have help scoring a taxi ride home if they’ve had too much to drink.

Fun-seekers heading for 6th Avenue’s nightclubs this Saturday night in Tacoma will have help scoring a taxi ride home if they’ve had too much to drink.

The rides – the first 25 of which will be free for groups sharing a ride within Tacoma – are sponsored by the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force and four participating companies: Fair Fares and JR Cab along with Aloha and Alien car service companies.

Taxis will be available in the heart of the popular nightclub area on Pine Street and 6th Avenue where bar-hoppers will be able to get free taxi vouchers or help dispatching a $10 flat-rate taxi from street volunteers wearing white baseball caps marked “Choose Your Ride.”

“This is a community effort in which everyone does their part – bar owners, bartenders, resident volunteers, cab companies and our valued patrons – to keep 6th Avenue’s nightlife on the top of everyone’s go-to list,” says Jeff Paradise, co-owner of Masa along with John and Luke Xitco in the trendy bar and restaurant area. Along with Jazzbones and other members of the 6th Avenue District Business Association, Paradise has worked to keep the area’s nighttime streets crime-free and accessible to customers wanting to grab a quick cab home after a night on the town.

“It thrills me to think that a community has come together to promote safety along with the good times involving alcohol. My daughter might be still alive had a safe way home like this been available the night she had been drinking and let an impaired friend drive her home in her car,” said Sharon Reynon, a volunteer who will be among the street volunteers uniting club-goers with cabs..

Saturday night’s Choose Your Ride taxi program, which sports a logo depicting a hybrid car that is a police cruiser in the front and a cab in the back, “offers the chance to get a ride home within the city for nothing,” said John Cheesman, Chief of the Fircrest Police Department and chairman the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force. “It seems like a real bargain considering that riding in a car like mine, of which there will be many in the area on September 28, could cost as much as $10,000.”

Along with the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force, Daniel Sibbett, owner of Tacoma’s popular fleet of Aloha karaoke cabs, hopes people will begin to order taxis in advance of stepping out and will take a taxi both to and from their drinking destinations. Sibbett is testing the feasibility of getting drinker’s cars home since it can be a tough sell to talk some owners into leaving their parked cars behind.

Media who would like to interview Choose Your Ride volunteers, including Sharon Reynon, or ride along with a participating taxi driver should contact Gloria Mansfield Averill, Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force, (253) 222-9088.

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