Free Taxi Rides Home

By Fritz Hahn Staff Writer
Thursday, June 28, 2007; 12:01 AM

Look, this is simple. We know that for many people, Independence Day is a chance to get together with friends, host a cookout or go watch a ballgame with hot dogs and beers. That's great -- as long as you don't drink and drive. The Washington Regional Alcohol Program is trying to make this easy for you: Use its SoberRide taxis.

If you need a ride home between 4 p.m. on July 4 and 4 a.m. on July 5, dial 1-800-200-TAXI and you'll get a taxi. (AT&T users can dial #TAXI on their mobile phone.) As long as your fare is under $50, the program pays for it. If it's more than $50, you pay the difference. Simple, safe and effective: Over the years, SoberRide says, the program has helped keep 34,000 potential drunk drivers off the streets.

Now, for the fine print:

You must be 21 to use SoberRide.

You can't reserve a taxi for a future time -- you have to call when you need one. You should probably allow at least 30-60 minutes for it to arrive, sometimes more, depending on the time of night. But no matter how long the wait, it's better (and safer) than getting arrested or being in an accident.

SoberRide will not pick you up at your house and take you to a bar or a party. They will, however, drive you home.

All calls must originate in one of the following jurisdictions:

Maryland: Montgomery and Prince George's counties, including the cities of Rockville, Bowie, College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt and Takoma Park.

Virginia: Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and eastern Loudoun counties, as well as the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park.

Washington: Anywhere in the city.

If you are calling from a cell phone, it must have a Maryland, Virginia or Washington D.C. area code.

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