Northern California Bar Offers Free Shuttle for Drinkers

The number of arrests for California DUI made by the Ukiah Police jumped from 56 arrests in 2005 to 283 DUI arrests this year during the same 6-month period. And that does not include DUI arrests made by the California Highway Patrol or the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. In response, the Pub Sports Bar and Grill decided to provide a unique alternative for their patrons and started ‘A Safe Ride’ program.

Operating during popular business hours, the 11-passenger van will pick-up people for free, shuttle them to the bar and then provide a ride home. The van even features barf bags and a bucket.

The owners of the pub noted that the increase in DUI arrests was impacting business at area bars. They are quick to point out that no one wants drunk drivers on the road though they feel the distinction between exceeding the legal blood alcohol level and being a responsible social drinker has being blurred by the police. Police would reportedly wait near bars, watch people leaving and stop drivers for suspicion of DUI even if they showed no signs of intoxication.

The van has quickly become popular with patrons, and though the bar has seen a modest increase in business it has not yet covered the expenses associated with running the service. Still, the pub owners saw a need and there are now talks of expanding the service to provide a safe way home after area cultural events.

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