New Year's revelers offered free safe rides home - - Jackson, MS

New Year's revelers offered free safe rides home

Source: AMR Source: AMR
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, The McCoy House for Sober Living, the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association and AMR will link to provide safe, free rides home for New Year’s Eve party-goers in the Jackson metro area.

From 11:00 p.m. on December 31 to 3:00 a.m. on January 1, individuals who have been drinking and who do not have a designated driver or other safe way to get home may call 601-368-2323 to schedule a ride. 

Each caller will need to give his or her name, location, number of riders and those riders’ destinations. 

Volunteers from NCADD and The McCoy House for Sober Living will take calls for the free service at AMR offices.

AMR will provide five vans each capable of transporting 13 passengers at a time. Drivers will come from AMR’s workforce. 

Rides will be provided as far east as Brandon, west as far as Clinton, north as far as Madison and south as far as Terry.

Drivers will take revelers to their homes or to a hotel, not to another party, bar or club.            

The project will mainly transport patrons of bars and restaurants in downtown Jackson, near the Reservoir and in Byram but organizers say they will also work to accommodate patrons at other establishments.  The vans will respond to private parties at family homes when the schedule allows.   

“By focusing first on bar and restaurant partiers, we will keep a larger number of alcohol-impaired folks from getting behind the wheel," said AMR operations manager Stan Alford. "In recent years, more requests for rides have come from establishments than from private parties.

“We urge party hosts to have a plan to stop guests who’ve been drinking from driving," said Mike Cashion, executive director of the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association. "Make sure every group has a designated driver, serve alcohol wisely, keep handy the contacts for taxi and ride-hailing services and let guests stay overnight if needed.  Remember, a designated driver is one who drinks zero alcohol, not one who drinks the least.”  

The Association trains staffs of member establishments to serve alcohol responsibly and help patrons who’ve been drinking get home safely.  The association is again publicizing the project among establishments which serve alcohol. 

Alford said that, while there is no charge for the Safe Ride Home service, AMR’s drivers will accept donations to NCADD and The McCoy House for Sober Living. 

This is the twenty-first year of the project. 

“Several years ago, we transported as many as 250 folks," Alford said. "The number of riders has declined in recent years, coinciding with the advent of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.  Each of the last couple of years, we’ve transported just under 100.  That’s 100 people per year who shouldn’t behind the wheel and we’re happy to get them home safely.”  

EMT Stormee Abbott will lead AMR’s drivers. She has worked in the project several years.

“After calling for a ride, look for a large passenger van," said Abbott. "Be patient as we work through ride requests. Have a Plan B if we reach capacity. AMR would rather transport you by van than by ambulance.” 

“The missions of McCoy House, NCADD and AMR emphasize preventing the devastating effects of substance abuse on the individual, family and community," said Daisy Carter, NCADD executive director. "Safe Ride Home will remind everyone to prevent alcohol-related crashes on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. We hope the project will remind people year-round never to drink and drive.”

“The McCoy House is dedicated to serving others and we do so in numerous ways," said Denise Marsters, founder and CEO of The McCoy House for Sober Living. "This New Year’s Eve, we will again give back to the community by helping staff the phones for Safe Ride Home.”   

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