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Expect delays in finding a safe ride home

Parties have been planned and revelers are ready for another night of celebrations as New Year’s Eve festivities get underway in Kelowna.

As is typical, transit buses will be limited to regular service on Tuesday and their Sunday service on New Year’s Day (Wednesday). 

Those looking to stay out past the midnight hour and still get home safe will have a few different options, but don’t expect prompt service, as most cab companies and dial-a-driver operations are anticipating a backlog of calls. 

New Year’s Eve is typically the busiest day of the year for late night transportation, rivaling Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day, says Paul Nesbitt of Designated Driver Dads.

He has been running DDD for the past four years and says they're usually swamped with too many calls to handle.

“We just do what we can and just hope that everyone finds a safe ride home,” says Nesbitt, adding that NYE is especially difficult since many of his ‘Dads’ can be away on holidays.

“I did put out a call for all my guys, where I normally don’t. Whoever volunteers on any given weekend, that’s great, but this isn’t on the weekend and tonight’s going to be a big night.”

Nesbitt says he never knows how many drivers will show up on a given night, but says it's business as usual for himself and whoever wants to help out.

“There’s no schedule, it’s all by volunteer. We always seem to field a couple of cars, but tonight it would be nice if we could get more going. Then we could be all over the city helping people,” he says.

“I did have one guy phone me yesterday out of the blue. He told me he was a dad and loved what we were doing, and wants to volunteer. So he’ll sit beside me tonight and be my wingman to see if he wants to do it on a more regular basis.”

If any other ‘Dads’ want to help get people home safe tonight, they can contact Paul at 250-862-6096.

Nesbitt and the others will shuttle home as many people and cars as possible between 1-3 a.m. Wednesday morning and anyone hoping for a ride can call ahead and set something up.

Taxicabs in the city are also expecting one of their busiest nights of the year, and Checkmate Cabs will not be taking reservations.

“If you actually call in, it’s probably going to be quite some time – I’d guess 30-40 minutes for a cab,” says Rory Anderson, a dispatcher with the company.

Last year there was an issue of people jumping out in front of cabs who were on their way to pick up other fares, and Anderson suggests callers move away from busy intersections, so cabs have an easier time finding the right person.

All 22 Checkmate Cabs will be on the road tonight and Anderson says they won't be taking reservations until 6 a.m. Wednesday morning.

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