Tipsy Taxi to be reborn as countywide service
SUMMIT COUNTY – Tipsy Taxi is headed for the scrap heap, in favor of the new model in late-night transportation, Last Resort Ride.
Last Resort Ride will provide vouchers for free taxi rides to bars and restaurants, for use with either of Summit’s two taxi companies. The service will replace the Breckenridge-limited Tipsy Taxi and provide rides to revelers anywhere in the county. Tipsy Taxi ends Monday, and Last Resort Ride will begin Wednesday night.
“This has been the direction we’ve wanted to go all along,” said Beverly Gmerek, Summit Prevention Alliance (SPA) prevention coordinator. “We’ll be able to afford to do this countywide, because we’re no longer paying for driver salaries, maintenance and gas. Our costs will be more strictly directed at providing rides home.”
With Tipsy Taxi, SPA and managers at the Summit Stage had to provide drivers and two vans for the Breckenridge area. The service cost $100,000 annually, and business owners and managers in the north end of the county longed to see the service expanded to their neighborhoods. Gmerek said stable taxi service and late-night bus routes were key components in developing the new program.
Under the Last Resort program, SPA will provide five, free vouchers to liquor-license holders each quarter. The establishments, in turn, offer the vouchers to customers, who use them to get rides home with Summit Taxi or Rainbow Taxi. Businesses can purchase additional vouchers for $10 each. Gmerek said the vouchers will cover rides anywhere in the county – from Montezuma to Heeney or Breckenridge to Copper Mountain – and at half the cost of operating Tipsy Taxi.
“Even though Tipsy Taxi is going away, we’re replacing it with a better and more comprehensive program,” Gmerek said.
The money to organize the program comes from court costs and fines collected in DUI cases and from donations from county restaurant associations. The associations will present checks to Gmerek and the program Wednesday at Barkley’s West in Frisco. Gmerek also will use the 5 p.m. mixer to distribute the first round of vouchers and explain the program. She has invited all managers and restaurant owners to attend.
Restaurant owners and managers were happy to hear the news. Scott Jackson, owner of Keystone’s The Goat, said his establishment is fortunate to have a lot of foot traffic from resort employees and guests, as well as Keystone bus service.
“(We) have a ton of friends who live down in Dillon now,” Jackson said. “It’d be nice to be able to send them home.”
Silverthorne Old Chicago manager Paul Kemp said the restaurant staff does whatever it can to keep customers and other drivers safe, and this service will offer one more alternative. “We’ll definitely make use of this,” Kemp said.
Although customers at Downstairs at Eric’s won’t have Tipsy Taxi vans to catch a ride home, manager Michael Clark said the new service is “a great idea.”
“It’s not really going away,” Clark said. “It’ll be more efficient, I think. We’ve got two taxi services in the county now, and we’ll absolutely be using the vouchers.”
Managers or owners of alcohol-serving establishments who can’t attend Wednesday’s mixer can contact Gmerek and the Summit Prevention Alliance at (970) 668-2077.
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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