Program offers fare-free cab rides for impaired drivers

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During the holiday season, many people will celebrate. But if they've had one too many, there's a way to get home safely at no cost.

Dozens of bars in Lower Paxton Township began the Alert Cab program Wednesday.

If you are too impaired to drive, 33 township bars and restaurants can call a cab for you. The fare is free, thanks to Wilsbach Distributors. The company has been sponsoring the program for 12 years.

At Ted's Bar and Grill, they've been doing it for 12 years.

“People here have taken advantage of it before,” owner Romeo LaMarco said. “We initiate it, we encourage it and if we see a patron that could use the service, we take all initiative to make it happen.”

“We have roughly 80 cabs right now that will be there to provide free rides to anybody looking for a free ride home,” said Dwayne Petty, office manager at Harrisburg City Cabs. “Our objective is to safely provide transportation to those who are celebrating the Christmas season.”

Hopping into the back of a cab beats the back of a police cruiser.

“There's the safety concern for the people in the car with an impaired driver and also anyone on the road,” said Officer LouAnna Brook of Lower Paxton Township Police. “When we spot you, pull you over and arrest you for driving impaired, it's also devastating for that person.”

Bar owners and police officers alike believe the alert cab program saves lives.

“People like to have fun and celebrate the holidays and with that little bit of security with not having to drive, it makes a big difference for everyone,” LaMarco said.

“It's a holiday season, we know people are going to be celebrating. That's okay. Just be responsible,” said Brook. “This is a great service . There's no excuse for anyone not to use it.”

The Alert Cab program will run through January 4.

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