Ninety of 336 discounted cab fare cards were used over the holiday period, according to Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis.
Davis told the Sarpy County Board Jan. 8 the newly created program, designed to keep drunk drivers off the roads and out of jail, had been successful enough that it will be continued throughout the year and possibly a bigger discount applied during the 2013 holiday season.
The innovative program was created by Davis after returning from a national conference aimed at curbing drunk driving.
He said the conference suggested a program he considered cumbersome and not user friendly. That program would have allowed people to call a towing company to have their car towed home if they believed they had consumed too much alcohol. The client would ride home with the tow truck driver.
The cost of the tow would be subsidized by grant money from the federal government.
Davis devised a program he believes is less complicated.
He met with the principals of the major Omaha-area cab companies and established the “I Care Cab Fare” program, which is subsidized by the Federal Highway Administration and the SAC Federal Credit Union.
Under the program, persons buy cab fare cards at any branch of SAC Federal Credit Union and gift them as gifts to others or use them themselves. The cards may also be purchased at happycab.com.
The cards are rechargeable and may be loaded with a value of the buyer’s choosing.
During the holiday season, and continuing through the end of January, the cards may be purchased at a 20 percent discount.
A person putting $100 on a card, for example, will pay only $80.
Beginning February, the cards will be full price.
Davis said he thought more than 90 cards would have been used over the Christmas and New Year holidays but that the difficulty of getting a cab during that week might play a role.
“One way to look at it is that 90 people who might have been driving under the influence, especially during the last few weeks, have opted to use these card instead,” he said. “They haven’t become a statistic, they haven’t been involved in an accident or a fatality, they haven’t been arrested.”
Davis said he hopes to double the number of cards sold during the 2013 holiday season, and also to increase the discount.