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December 27, 2010

Free New Year's Eve cab rides return to Baltimore thanks to Tipsy Taxi

tipsytaxi.JPGFor the third year in a row, Baltimore residents will get free cab rides on New Year's Eve.

Yellow Cab Baltimore, AAA Mid-Atlantic and the State Highway Administration with the Maryland Transit Administration, have partnered to offer the Tipsy? Taxi! program this Friday to residents who've done just a little too much celebrating.  

From midnight until 4 a.m., cab rides under $50 originating in the city will be comped by the program. 

The Maryland Transit Administration will make an official announcement Tuesday at a press conference at the Inner Harbor.   

The cab rides are the third free transportation option residents will have on New Year's Eve this year. The MTA partnered with MillerCoors to offer free services until 2 a.m. that day, and the Charm City Circulator will extend operating hours until 1 a.m.

Tipsy? Taxi! aims to "deter impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel," said Lora Rakowski, a spokeswoman for SHA.

It's been offered on New Year's Eve in the city since 2008, when at least 110 residents took advantage of it. And was also on hand earlier this year on other drinking high holidays like St. Patrick's Day, the Fourth of July and Halloween.

To get picked up by Tipsy? Taxi!, call 1-877-963-TAXI.

The program, though, does come with a few provisos: residents can only be dropped off at their homes, not other bars or restaurants. And, confusingly, they must be 21 or older. Because minors who drink illegally totally don't need free designated drivers.

The balance on rides exceeding $50 will be paid by the riders themselves.

And beware, at least one resident has complained about the service's timeliness in the past.

Photo: SHA


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Posted by Erik Maza at 1:44 PM | | Comments (15)
Categories: New Year's Eve 2010
        

Comments

I'm sure the same fake ID that was good enough to get served will be good enough to get a ride home.

Does ANYONE know of anyone who has actually been able to take advantage of this?

I have worked at a bar for roughly 8 or 9 years for party holidays in Baltimore and DC where free rides have been advertised, and every time I've called for customers they either don't answer or the cab doesn't show. These aren't out of the way bars, but rather right in the middle of the festivities.

I don't mean to be cynical, it just sucks having the customers come back to me over and over asking where the cab is.

Great idea, but it gets an F in practice...

i've asked for it once (from yellow cab) and the cab driver refused. I think its a sham.

I've tried this twice and was charged both times. When I mentioned it was supposed to be free both drivers said they would call the police if I refused to pay.

I complained about it earlier. I think it's all PR. I rarely have gotten anyone to pick up the phone and they have never shown up when they do

It's not something a just can just climb in to any cab and ask for either.

Maybe there is some journalist out there who can look in to it

This service does not exist. Every time I've attempted to use tipsy taxi, the number rings busy and cuts off. Tipsy taxi is nothing but a big fat joke.

This service does not exist. Every time I've attempted to use tipsy taxi, the number rings busy and cuts off. Tipsy taxi is nothing but a big fat joke.

Like I shilled in the past, feel free to jump in a cab on NYE and come to No Idea, we will pay for your cab*, meaning we will take it off your check. This way you can still enjoy your NYE and party 40 hours in a row!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=174038929282041

I have never tried this but was going to take advantage of it this year. Maybe someone from the Sun can look into some of the comments above. It's a slow week, right?

@TS - I really wouldn't recommend that, I've tried it several times, on NYE, july 4th, halloween etc and it's a FRAUD

my only advice would be to try calling around 10 or 11pm and maybe you'd have some luck.

The Sun should look into this - but Sessa never did despite numerous commenters calling it out as BS.

This is a total scam orchestrated by someone well above my pay-grade. I am going print out this flyer. And come NYE night, I am going to grab a Yellow Cab, tip the driver well and demand I not be charged for my ride. Let him call the cops--I will turn it into a PR nightmare.

@andrew
don't be too down of yellow cab this is BS from the city & AAA. Maza if you want to earn our respect do what Sessa bothered to and expose this fraud for what it is.

*This requires actually going out to bars in baltimore past 2-am not some lame rave in DC. Sorry for the inconvenience

@andrew,@foo: meant to post this earlier, but earlier this year, AAA responded to complaints about the service: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/traffic/2010/03/aaa_responds_to_tipsy_taxi_gri.html
But, Ill tell you Monday how my NYE ride went.

like all the other posts, it's a freakin sham. i called - several times - and no answer.

even if the practice were executed, say a cab shows up at a crowded bar in fed hill that i just called, you think no one is going to run up to it and jump in? is the cabbie going to politely say, "please exit my cab, someone called and is waiting for me"? or is he going to turn on the meter and drive away?

tipsy taxi needs to be investigated. i hope more comes of this.

I wonder how Erik's "NYE ride went"?

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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