Cabbies Geared Up for New Year’s Revelers

December 31, 2013 Updated: December 31, 2013

NEW YORK—A program to get tipsy drivers off New York’s roads was in full swing New Year’s Eve.

Launched by the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers (NYSFTD) a couple of days before Christmas, Operation Red Nose (OPN) took at least 1,360 drivers home safely this holiday season.

Cabbies got ready for “the big night”—New Year’s Eve.

“There are more DWI accidents on New Year’s Eve than any other day of the year,” said Fernando Mateo, founder of NYSFTD.

Through the OPN plan, if revelers feel they have had a few too many, one cabbie can drive them and their car back home, while an escort cabbie follows to pick the first driver.

Fees were double the standard rate.

But Mateo said the taxi ride is a cheap option compared to crashing your car, spending a night in jail or worse, killing others or yourself.

“I believe we have saved lives,” he said.

Mateo said people often take the risk of driving drunk in fear of having their car stolen, towed away, or ticketed—especially during New Year’s celebrations.

The plan works on a dispatched car service, so yellow cabs did not take part.

Depending on the success of the pilot program, the service may be extended after New Year’s Day.

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