2011-12-23 / Community

DOT Giving Away Free Rides

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has announced the return of the “Safe Rides Home” giveaway, with thousands of free taxi, livery and public transit rides home to be distributed from now until New Year’s Eve to encourage New Yorkers to be safe every time they celebrate by planning for a designated driver.

This promotion is part of DOT’s “You the Man” campaign, which is designed to curb drinking and driving, reduce traffic crashes and make New York City’s streets even safer.

DOT is working with Johnnie Walker to provide 1,500 free debit cards valued at $15 apiece for New Yorkers to use in taxis or at MetroCard or other transitticket machines this holiday season. In addition, 4,000 single-ride MetroCards will be distributed citywide as part of the program.

Safe Rides Home reminds revelers that New Yorkers can count on friends and family members as designated drivers, as well as the city’s transportation professionals: cab, livery and bus drivers and subway operators.

Former NFL quarterback and WFAN morning sports show host Boomer Esiason and Diageo Executive Vice President of Corporate Relations Guy Smith joined Sadik-Khan for the giveaway at Times Square.

The announcement marks the second year Johnnie Walker’s parent company, Diageo, has partnered with DOT to provide New York residents and visitors a free, safe ride home during the holidays.

“Wherever the celebration takes you on New Year’s and all year round, plan for a safe ride home with a designated driver,” said Sadik-Khan.

“New York City’s designated drivers, including taxis, bus and subway operators, keep the good times rolling while making our streets as safe as they can be.”

“Taking taxis and other for-hire vehicles has always been a great way to demonstrate responsibility during the holiday season and the ‘You the Man’ campaign, along with these taxi cards are an excellent way to promote awareness,” said TLC Commissioner/Chair David Yassky.

DOT launched the first Safe Rides Home program last December, and 78 percent of all debit card transactions from that giveaway took place between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. – prime celebratory hours.

For this year’s Safe Rides Home promotion, the rides will be distributed in the form of pre-paid debit cards, which are processed by Western Union and valued at up to $15.

They are redeemable exclusively in the city’s 13,000-plus taxicabs, participating livery car services, MTA, PATH, NJ Transit or other ticketing machines from December 16 through noon, January 1, 2012.

The debit cards will be distributed at two events in December and MetroCard giveaways will take place in each borough this month. Dates, times and locations can be found on www.youthemannyc.org.

To learn the exact whereabouts of the street team during the giveaways, follow @youthemannyc on Twitter.

Launched in February 2010, DOT’s You the Man social-marketing campaign is designed to reach all New Yorkers and encourage smart behavior that makes the city’s streets safer by keeping drunk drivers off the roads. The slogan, creative designs and humorous approach are especially designed to resonate with men ages 21- 39, who, statistics show, are most likely to get into a DWI-related crash or accept a ride from an intoxicated driver. You the Man relies on peer-to-peer language to celebrate designated drivers and uses humorous winter holiday scenarios to remind New Yorkers to plan for a designated driver. New ads will run now through the New Year, online as well as outdoors on billboards, on buses and on posters. The campaign features a website, www.youthemannyc.org, and a free iPhone app that uses GPS to help users find the closest subway stops and livery car services.

The NYPD will continue its drunkendriving enforcement throughout the holiday season with DWI patrols and checkpoints throughout the city. The NYPD made 9,601 DWI arrests and seized 1,363 vehicles from drunk drivers in 2010. For more information visit www.YouTheManNYC.org.

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