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Don’t drink and drive – go on a JOYRIDE instead

Sept. 14, 2017

Sometimes it’s a conundrum: You want to go out with your friends, but you don’t want to make one of them be a designated driver or spend all your money on cabs. But drinking and driving is definitely not an option (seriously, who does that?!). And considering that Minnesota law enforcement made 1,370 DWI arrests during the most recent extra enforcement campaign (Aug. 18-Sept. 3), it’s clear that people need a better way to get home when they’re out partying. So what to do?

JOYRIDE program promotional materials.
Photo: Buying a $7 ticket for a safe cab ride home is much more fun than getting a DWI. The Twin Ports JOYRIDE program makes it possible.

If you’re in the Twin Ports area, there’s a really easy and affordable alternative: JOYRIDE. It’s a program that started in 2014 and has been gaining momentum ever since. (If you’re not in the Twin Ports area, don’t worry: there are similar programs in Wright and Ottertail counties.) Here’s how it works:

  1. You check JOYRIDE’s website or Facebook page to see which bars participate in the program (there are 28 so far, so you have a lot of good options).
  2. Once you get to the bar you’ve chosen, you buy a joyride ticket for $7.
  3. You have a blast with your friends without having to worry about getting home safely.
  4. At the end of the night, you call a cab whose number is on the joyride ticket (or have your server do so if your thumbs aren’t working so well).
  5. You get home all in one piece. (If the ride goes over $7, you may have to pay the difference—but most don’t, and some cabs even forgive the difference.)

Although the JOYRIDE program was originally started to cut down on drunk driving, it has turned out to be a winning situation for everyone involved. Smart bar owners, for example, know that it’s not in their best financial interests for their customers to be in horrific crashes or get DWIs. Plus, it’s free publicity, and patrons often go to the 28 participating bars specifically because they’re part of JOYRIDE.

It’s also free publicity for the cab companies that participate -- and they caught on quickly. The program started with one cab company, and then the other four in the area came to JOYRIDE asking to participate.

A look at the numbers confirms the JOYRIDE program’s popularity: Since they started selling tickets in 2015, a total of 1256 tickets have been used. That includes 327 for the first half of 2017 alone.

Allison Nicolson, the Driving 4 Safe Communities Coalition coordinator and chief administrator of the JOYRIDE program, is thrilled with its progress. “We don’t want people in jail. We don’t want people killed by drunk drivers. This one is a no-brainer – an elegant solution for everyone involved.”