Drinking tonight? Get a safe ride home from CHARR

Triangle Club Bar. Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO.

Triangle Club Bar. Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO.

Going out drinking tonight? Get a safe ride home courtesy of CHARR.

This is the ninth year the Juneau/Lynn Canal chapter of the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant, and Retailers Association will offer free cab rides home for New Year’s.

Leann Thomas owns the Triangle Club Bar downtown. She says 14 bars and liquor stores are participating in the Safe Rides program this year.

“We’re running it from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. on New Year’s Eve,” Thomas says. “Look for posters around town. It’s also in Capital City Weekly – the last two weeks it’s been running in Capital City Weekly of the locations you can get a free cab ride home.”

Thomas says CHARR fundraises for the program throughout the year and always offers free cab rides home on Halloween and New Year’s. Sometime other holidays are included.

She says as many as 25 taxis participate, and their goal is to pick up customers within 30 minutes of receiving a call.

“They will only take you home. We want to get everybody home. That’s our point, is to make our community safe,” Thomas says. “And another important thing is that you might not get your own cab. If there’s a whole bunch of people going from downtown to the valley, we’re going to load that cab up. So there might be seven people in that van, and we’re going to take you out to the valley and drop you off at your house.”

Thomas says more than 600 people took advantage of the Safe Rides program last year.

Meanwhile, the Juneau Police Department will have extra officers working for the New Year’s holiday.

JPD Spokeswoman Erann Kalwara says officers will be conducting enhanced patrols tonight and New Year’s Day.

“On New Year’s Eve we’re going to have 13 officers working patrol, which is more than double a normal patrol shift,” she says. “And on New Year’s Day we’ll also have extra officers.”

Cracking down on drunk drivers will be a focus for officers. But Kalwara says enhanced patrols can also help with accidents caused by bad weather.

“We hope that folks never drink and drive,” she says. “But the road conditions are an extra hazard and an extra thing to worry about and think about while driving.”

Juneau Police are responsible for enforcing traffic laws throughout the borough. However, Kalwara says the enhanced holiday patrols will primarily be in heavy traffic areas, including downtown, Douglas, Lemon Creek and the Mendenhall Valley.