Plenty of New Year’s transportation options

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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An image seen on many posters throughout Prince Albert and area drinking establishments. 

Not that there’s ever an excuse to drive while impaired, but one would have to dream up quite the scenario to explain doing so in Prince Albert this New Year’s.

 

At least 30 Operation Red Nose volunteers will be working through the night, with five vehicles sent out to help people get home.

Once at the site of an individual too intoxicated to drive home, volunteers branch out, with two driving the person or persons home in their own vehicle, and the third volunteer trailing behind so they can get to their next intoxicated patrons.

“Normally we schedule from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., but I would be awfully suspicious of New Year’s Eve,” chairperson James Wilm said, noting that this has proven their busiest night of the year. “We’ll probably be going until the wee hours of the morning.”

Between the last weekend of November and Saturday, Operation Red Nose volunteers have helped 242 get home in their own vehicles, without driving -- an effort made up of 128 trips.

Of the more than 100 phone calls they’ve received since start-up, the strangest came from someone in Montreal requesting a ride home -- a location Wilm notes they were forced to turn down due to it being outside of their “Prince Albert and area” jurisdiction.

Aiding in the effort to keep intoxicated individuals off the roads this New Year’s Eve is Ding in the New Year -- an effort organized y SGI in partnership with local police and the City of Prince Albert.

Last year, almost 350 people took advantage of the program, which consists of free public transit throughout the city from 7:45 p.m. to 3:15 a.m. 

Plus, Wilm points out that there’s ample taxi service in Prince Albert.

“We’re not a taxi service,” he said of Operation Red Nose “We do not want to interfere with the taxi business in the city. You must have a vehicle if you want to utilize our services.”

If a patron doesn’t have a vehicle, Operation Red Nose’s effort has been nullified, he said, noting that the program is there to prevent people who might otherwise have driven home, from doing so.

Normally we schedule from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., but I would be awfully suspicious of New Year’s Eve ... We’ll probably be going until the wee hours of the morning. James Wilm

Expect police spot checks as well, Wilm said, noting that he’s seen a number of spot checks this winter, including one on Friday night.

“So, with (the police’s) help and with us with the Red Nose, and on New Year’s Eve with the city program, nobody should have to drive after they’ve been partying or drinking,” Wilm concluded.

“With all of that, you’ve got ample means of getting around.”

Operation Red Nose has been very well received so far, Wilm said, noting that the Lions Club has been aided greatly by community support.

Local dealerships have provided them with vehicles and gasoline free of charge, local pizza parlours have given volunteers free pies, and McDonald’s has given them enough coffee to stay awake through the nights.

Even patrons have been charitable, Wilm said. Although Operation Red Nose is free of charge to u se, volunteers have handed them about $2,500 so far -- funds the Lions Club still have to figure out what they’ll do with.

“The patrons have been so gratified that we’re able to do this and provide this service,” Wilm said.  “And we feel good about it too, just to make sure there’s nobody out there driving who shouldn’t be.”

Operation Red Nose can be contacted at 306-763-6673 throughout New Year’s, from 9 p.m. until after about 3 a.m., Wilm said, noting that a greater contingency of vehicles will be available post-midnight.

Click HERE for a bus route map of where the Dink in the New Year public transportations system will go from 7:45 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 3:15 a.m. on Jan. 1. 

Organizations: Prince Albert, Lions Club

Geographic location: Montreal, Prince Albert

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