To make sure New Year Eve’s celebrants get home safely, T.J. McGowan Sons Funeral Home of Haverstraw is offering its third annual “Safe Drive Program.” It provides free rides from any bar, restaurant or residential home in the towns of Haverstraw and Stony Point between midnight New Year's Eve and 4 a.m. on Tuesday. There are scheduled pickups from specific bars and restaurants but partygoers can call for rides from other North Rockland locations.
T.J. McGowan’s General Manager Don Cranston said last year they provided 60 rides home. The free trip includes a bottle of water and bagel and a donation is requested for a nonprofit organization. There will be at least four volunteer drivers using McGowan’s vans and rented vans.
“If I can save one life, it will be successful event,” said Cranston.
The scheduled pickups at The Publik House in Garnerville are at 12:30 a.m., 2 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. In the Villages of Haverstraw and West Haverstraw, volunteers will collect partygoers from Union Restaurant and Bar Latino, Antoine McGuire’s Oyster & Ale House and Babe’s Bar & Grill at 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. In Stony Point, the stops at Fireside Steak Pub, Lynch’s Restaurant and Las Margaritas will be at 1:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. The final pick-up time is 4 a.m.
Cranston said the purpose is to help drivers to avoid driving home drunk, getting points on their license, being arrested or causing an accident where someone gets seriously hurt. People in need of a ride on New Year’s Eve can call T. J. McGowan at 845-429-2130 from midnight to 4 a.m.
Dana Distributors, based in Goshen, is offering its “Alert Cab” program in conjunction with tavern owners in Rockland, Orange and Sullivan counties. Guidelines issued to bar owners state free taxis are available from 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31 until 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 to take customers to their homes within a 10-mile radius of the bar. Bar owners have phone numbers of participating cab companies.
Bartenders can approach customers with the recommendation not to drive and use the free cab service or patrons can request it. Customers using the service must have driven their own vehicle to the bar.
Other “Alert Cab” guidelines require bar personnel to place the customer’s car keys in an envelope and label it with the exact location of their vehicle and specific home address. The envelope is given to the cab driver, who will return to the customer once they arrive at their residence
The “Alert Cab” program provided 168 free taxi rides in the three counties in 2011, an increase of 44 percent over the prior year. A spokesperson for Dana Distributors said the program has been in effect for 30 years and the company has been participating as the local sole sponsor for 24 years.
Emmett’s Castle at Blue Hill in Pearl River is running its own “Safe Ride” program for patrons attending its New Year’s Eve festivities. It is providing a bus pick up and drop-off for area residents within an eight-mile radius. Rides must be scheduled in advance by calling Emmett’s directly at 845-735-3504. Go here for more information.