Jefferson City ride service preps for New Year's Eve

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JEFFERSON CITY - It's been around for awhile but this is the first New Year's Eve for a Jefferson City Safe Ride Home program.  The owner of Spectators Bar and Grill, Scott Drinkard, started the Safe Ride Home Program with some other locals in May using the Yellow Cab Company. The service is funded through area bars and a few corporate sponsors.

He said he started the year long service because the other program wasn’t working effectively.

“A lot of people weren’t aware of it,” Drinkard said. “When we would call for a cab it would take an hour or longer, and when someone is over served and ready to go, they need to be picked up and taken right away.”

Drinkard said he is confident the service will be busy on New Year’s Eve. 

“The system we have is easily a 15 minute turnaround, but I know tonight, it will probably be too busy for that to actually happen,” Drinkard said.

On New Year’s Eve last year, the JCPD and Fechtel Beverages worked together on offering a sober driver program using the Checker Cab Company. 

JCPD Spokesperson Captain Shoemaker sent a written statement to KOMU 8 News explaining why the department is no longer involved in this program:

“While we’ve been fortunate to enjoy many years as an active participant in the Sober Driver program, the funding and direction of that program have moved in another direction with precludes our involvement.  As with on New Year’s Eve, just like any other evening, the Jefferson City Police Department encourages responsible actions when participating in festivities, which includes planning ahead and designating a driver to ensure everyone gets home safely.

We recommend that the sober driver is exactly that – sober – in that this person does not drink at all during the evening.  If a sober driver is not available, then contacting Checker Cab for a ride home or a family member or trusted friend is better than getting behind the wheel while impaired to any extent.

The goal for New Year’s is for everyone to have an enjoyable evening, but to get home safely and not injure themselves or others in the process.

We will have additional officers on patrol looking for impaired drivers through the evening and early morning hours."

Bernie Fechtel, owner of Fechtel Beverage, said his company funded 100 percent of the sober driving program that the JCPD and the Jefferson City City Council had in the past.

Moberly has a similar service for New Year's Eve. According to the Moberly Police Department's Facebook, the Moberly Police Department will provide safe rides home on the holiday to any patron living within city limits. The service will run from 10PM to 2AM, and the rides will only bring people home or to another residence.

To use the service in Moberly, call (660) 263-0346.