Lyft to supplant taxis in providing ‘SoberRide’ trips

Washington Regional Alcohol Program leaders announced in March 2017 that ride-sharing company Lyft would begin providing free rides under the “SoberRide” program, starting March 17 with the St. Patrick's Day holiday.

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The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), in collaboration with Lyft and community partners, will operate its 2021 St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide initiative from Wednesday, March 17 at 4 p.m. to Thursday, March 18 at 2 a.m., in an effort to keep the roads safe from impaired drivers.

“While we’re all safer at home, we are also a public-safety organization which regularly looks to mitigate risk,” said Kurt Erickson, WRAP’s president. “If persons do venture out and alcohol is involved, we are all benefited from the safety-net role which the region’s SoberRide program plays to remove drunk drivers from area roadways.”

Area residents age 21 and older celebrating with alcohol can download the Lyft app to their phones, then enter a SoberRide code in the app’s “Promo” section to receive no-cost (up to $15) transportation home. The SoberRide promo code will be posted on March 17 at 3 p.m. at www.soberride.com.

More than 40 percent of U.S. traffic fatalities during St. Patrick’s Day involve drunk drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide event was canceled due to the pandemic, a total of 697 Washington-area residents availed themselves of the service in 2019.

WRAP also offers its SoberRide program on Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day, Halloween and the winter holidays. Since 1991, the SoberRide program has provided 80,102 free safe rides home to would-be drunk drivers in the Washington area.

Originally conducted in collaboration with a host of taxi companies, the effort began a partnership with Lyft several years ago.

“Partnering with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program allows us to take our commitment to providing reliable, convenient and responsible transportation a step further, particularly during times of the year when people are out celebrating and in need of a ride home,” said Geoff Berman, Lyft’s national regional manager, east.

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