The Tipsy Taxi returns this New Year's Eve to give Lawrence residents a safe, free ride home

Service and Donations

Tipsy Taxi service

When: 11 p.m.-3 a.m. Dec. 31-Jan. 1

Where: Any residence in Lawrence, just call 842-TAXI (8294) and ask for Tipsy Taxi.

Tipsy Taxi donations

Tipsy Taxi donations can be sent to:

DCCCA, 3312 Clinton Parkway, Lawrence, KS 66047

Call Jen Brinkerhoff at 841-4138 for more information

All donations are tax deductible

Intoxicated celebrators who forgot to assign their designated drivers, will have another option this New Year’s Eve. Thanks to DCCCA and several local restaurants, bars and citizens, Tipsy Taxi will be back again.

Tipsy Taxi is a free taxi service coordinated by DCCCA to provide safe rides home for Lawrence residents. Last year the program provided free cab rides to 420 people.

The service, now in its 27th year, is funded through donations from the public. However, funds for the Tipsy Taxi program are coming in short this year. Last year the cost for the Ground Transportation Inc. taxi service alone cost close to $1,300.

Jen Brinkerhoff, director of prevention at DCCCA, said so far this year, the center has only received about $850 in donations. Brigg’s Auto Group has provided the largest donation so far, with $500. Johnny’s Tavern, the Community Mercantile and at least six others have donated so far as well.

“Unfortunately, with all the state budget cuts, covering a major difference could be problematic so we really need folks to help out,” Brinkerhoff said.

While funding has been more difficult to receive in recent years, demand has increased. About 420 people caught rides last year, but Reynaldo Puentes, owner of Ground Transportation Inc., said close to 700 or 800 people actually called for rides. Puentes has eight drivers scheduled for the night, but said he hopes for at least two more.

“Callers need to know that they should call at least 45 minutes to an hour ahead of time, because it takes time to get there and it’s impossible to get there immediately,” Puentes said.

He also said that the drivers sometimes have trouble finding callers, who leave where they said they would be.

Regardless of the time, the service is worth the wait if it means not driving home drunk. Sgt. Matt Sarna, Lawrence police spokesman, said patrols will be normal on the holiday. Patrols with the Douglas County Sheriff’s office also will remain at the normal level. Officials stressed planning ahead, calling other means of transportation such as taxis or friends, promptly reporting drunk drivers and wearing seat belts as potentially life-saving tips.

According to the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office website, statewide in 2007 there were 3,292 alcohol-related crashes that resulted in 118 deaths and 1,944 injuries. During New Year’s last year, the Kansas Highway Patrol recorded 58 alcohol-related crashes, 20 injury crashes and one fatal crash.

Thanks to the Tipsy Taxi program, some of those accidents could be avoided.

“It helps save lives by getting people off the street and giving them a free, safe ride home,” said Brandi Munoz, prevention specialist at DCCCA.


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