Buzz Kill for SoberRide

Budget woes could spell the end of the road for SoberRide

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    If you’re hitting the bars in the District to celebrate the Fourth of July, be sure to save some cash for a Metro or cab ride home. You may not be able to count on SoberRide for a free ride.

    The long-running program of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program doesn’t have the funds right now to offer the service this July. In case you aren’t familiar with SoberRide (or have just never been sober enough to pay close enough attention), it’s really quite simple: if you have a few drinks on a given holiday -- whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween -- you can get a free cab ride home, as long as it’s less than 50 miles.

    It costs between $60,000 and $70,000 a year to run the program, with much of that money coming from corporations and other private donors. WRAP is about $31,000 in the red this year.

    “I don’t want to single anyone out, but the funding has been less because of the economic downturn,” WRAP president Kurt Erickson told the Washington Post. “We have a $31,000 gap between revenues and the cost of cab fares.”

    This could be a buzz kill for thousands of Washingtonians. SoberRide is as popular as ever. In fact, the number of people requesting free rides shot up 60 percent last year.

    “We’re doing gangbusters on SoberRide,” Erickson said. “Now we just need to find a way to pay for it.”