St. Patrick’s Day revellers across Saskatchewan are gearing up for a day of green beer and fun times.
With drinking and driving rates a concern in the province, at least one pub is taking matters into their own hands.
“We want people to come down and go home safe so we can treat them to another good night,” said Fred Chudskov, general manager of Birmingham’s in Saskatoon.
The pub chain is offering a free shuttle service to their customers in both Saskatoon and Regina in an effort to curb drunk driving.
“It’s basically just to give our customers another option,” Chudskov said.
The shuttle service started late last year in anticipation of new rules that lowered the legal blood alcohol content level to .04 on Jan. 1. It runs Thursday through Saturday night, with special events also covered.
It’s part of a growing trend across North America. Many bars in Toronto, Chicago, New York and other major centres have started to offer their own shuttles. Some even partner with cab companies to offer free rides home.
650 CKOM contacted dozens of bars in Saskatoon and Regina to ask about possible shuttle services.
Some pubs like the Yard and Flagon on Broadway Avenue said they’ve tried shuttles in the past but they generated little interest and were discontinued.
Others like O’Sheas Irish Pub tried to organize a service for St. Patrick’s Day, but had drivers drop out.
Instead those bars encourage the use of designated driver companies, such as First Choice DDS and Zero 8 Designated Drivers.
Those services offer to drive customers home in their own vehicle with a per-kilometre fee. An end-to-end Saskatoon trip would cost $30 to $40.
Whatever the plan is, Saskatoon police are hoping everyone gets home safe.
“We just want to encourage them to be safe out there,” Cst. Ryan Ehalt said.
“We don’t want someone to wake up with the realization they hurt someone else.”