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March 16, 2010

AAA responds to Tipsy? Taxi! gripes

The Tipsy? Taxi! program, which will offer taxi rides for Baltimore bar patrons this St. Patrick's Day, is free but not necessarily immediate  for folks who wait until last call to summon a cab, a spokeswoman for one of the sponsors says.

Ragina Averella, public and government affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said the normal response  time for the service is "less than 15 minutes" but admitted it can stretch to 45 minutes if the prospective customer waits until the city's 2 a.m. closing time.

"Free is good but free sometimes means waiting," she said.

Averellla said Yellow Cab, a partner in the effort to keep drunk drivers off the road, give priority to calls that come in on the Tipsy? Taxi! line on holidays when the service is being offered. This week the program, which is also sponsored by the State Highway Administration, will offer free riders from Baltimore city bars and restaurants between 4 pm. Wednesday and 4 a.m. Thursday. The number to call is 877-963-TAXI.

 

Some commenters on this blog have complained in response  to past notices of the service that they have had a hard time getting through the phone line. But Averella said she personally checks the line on holidays when the service has been offered and has not had significant problems getting through.

Averella said AAA has had stronly positive feedback about the program, which will provide a free ride up to a $50 fare. Riders are responsible for any fare above $50.

The spokeswoman counseled patience at the busiest times. "It's only one cab company providing a free service on selected holidays," she said. "The slight inconvenience of waiting is certainly outweighed by the risk."

That is, no doubt, 100 percent true. But alcohol is not always known to improve people's patience.

Averella  suggested that those who don't want to wait should wrap up the revelry at 12:30  a.m. or 1 a.m. rather than waitiing for  the bitter end. She said the weather forecast for St. Patrick's night is looking favorable, so she expects a busy night.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 1:18 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: On the roads
        

Comments

I hope that Baltimore City Police have commited to allow taxis through to pick up patrons. In years past I have tried to use this program and the poin that stops it from succeeding are the Police Officers turning away taxis at their self imposed roadblocks.

In my case they blocked all traffic at Broadway and Fleet turning away taxis. This drew patrons out looking for their rides and the impatience that you refer to provides a great opportunity for the Police to police citizens.

Hi nim,

As you commented ‘in years past I have tried to use this program’, I am thinking you are referring to past New Year’s Eve holidays, as Tipsy?Taxi! was offered for the first time this past Halloween and because of the known road closures around the square in Fell’s Point, Yellow Cab and AAA worked with City officials and the Fells Point business and residential community to set up a designated pick-up location at Thames and Caroline Streets.

The Tipsy?Taxi! partners were not aware of road closures in Fell’s Point on New Year’s Eve that were preventing cabs from picking up patrons outside of some bars.  AAA Mid-Atlantic will explore this issue and will work with the Baltimore Police and Transportation Departments about the feasibility of allowing cabs past the road closure or perhaps designating a pick-up location in Fell’s Point like we did for Halloween.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Ragina C. Averella
Manager, Public & Government Affairs
AAA Mid-Atlantic


Does Ragina mean waiting for a cab or wating for the phone line to work? Every time I have tried to dial the 877# during times offered, I don't even get a ring. The call goes straight to busy signal. Tipsy Taxi's a joke and dysfunctional like most of the MTA.

COMMENT: Tipsy?Taxi! may be a joke, but it's not the MTA's joke. The transit agency isn't one of the sponsors.

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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.
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