Cab drivers across the Fox Valley provide an alternative to drinking and driving by giving out safe rides. It's a program the Tavern League of Wisconsin started nearly three decades ago and helps thousands every year.
Forrest Belanger of Bell Taxi is one of the cab drivers that help people get home safe through the Wisconsin Tavern Leagues' "Safe Ride" program. He says on a given night he can give out anywhere from 20 to 150 rides.
"It grows more and more every week and the more people that go out and start using it, I think it's a better opportunity to get people off of the roads that maybe had a couple maybe shouldn't be driving," Belanger said.
He also says the wait for a cab, especially on New Years, may range from a couple minutes to an hour. Those who drink and need a ride home can request a "safe ride."
To order a cab, riders pay $3 for a voucher.
The local Tavern League then picks up the rest of the cost for the ride.
"Say the cab ride costs $12, ah, we will reimburse the cab company that $9 then," said Bradley Schinke, Outagamie County Tavern League president.
Schinke says local cab drivers gave out close to 500 rides in the past year.
"The drinking and driving does have to change and if we don't do something about it, other people are going to, and places like this (bars) are going to have a harder time," he said.
Whether getting a safe ride from a cab driver or a designated driver, Appleton police say those alternatives are good for the community.
"That impact is somebody not going out and getting hurt or killed in a traffic accident because they've been drinking, and so I think ultimately that's the goal that we have is preventing that," Pat DeWall, Appleton police sergeant said.
Cab drivers say New Years is going to be busy, so request a ride early.
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