ROCHESTER, Minn. – Many will spend Monday night ringing in the new year. That often means drinking alcohol, but it doesn’t have to mean drinking and driving.
It makes for a busy night for local taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers who have the goal of safely getting people to their destinations.
John Kruesel’s antique shop is near many bars in downtown Rochester. With the holiday being known for celebrating with alcoholic beverages, he knows downtown is bound to get busy.
“My hopes and desires for this evening is that nobody gets injured,” Kruesel said.
That’s the goal of people doing the driving tonight.
Adam Pierce is the manager of Star Transportation. He said they’re staffing more people and getting as many of their vehicles on the road as they can.
“We know it gets busy at 2:00 a.m., so just making sure we can keep as many vehicles out on the road at 2:00 that are available for everybody,” Pierce said.
Uber and Lyft drivers like Jeremy Kittleson advise people not to wait until bars close because they will be left waiting.
“Last year it was probably a 20-30 minute wait, but it was 17 and below,” Kittleson said. “It should be hopefully warmer tonight so it should help out.”
With weather in mind, cab companies keep in constant communication with the different establishments throughout the night.
“We'll sometimes tell the bouncers or the doormen that you know, 'hey we're running way behind, can you keep them inside?' Things like that, you know, just to make sure everyone's safe,” Pierce said.
Drinking and driving is not only dangerous, it can also be expensive. A DUI conviction could cost you about $10,000. Fortunately, there are plenty of safer and cheaper options.
Pierce said people could pay up to $30 for a cab, the same price it would be any night.
When using a ride share like Uber or Lyft, one thing you have to think about is the surge pricing.
"It usually kicks in effect after midnight usually or something or closer to bar close when more people are requesting,” Kittleson said. “So more demand, more money you know.”
Kittleson said this does depend on the year. He estimates before midnight, it’ll be $8-15 with about a 10 minute wait time. After midnight, he expects the price to triple or quadruple with about a 30 minute wait time.
One thing that could help many and save money is sharing the ride.
“Last year we saw 4 or 5 people getting in a vehicle and splitting it, you know – 20 bucks,” Kittleson said. “On the same app you can split with your friends.”
One reminder for people using these options is to make sure you get in the correct car with your assigned driver.