Wabasha Safe Ride Program Offers Home Drop-Off for Riverboat Days

Created: 07/24/2014 11:14 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- In an effort to curb drinking and driving, Wabasha is testing out a new way to get people from point A to point B. This weekend is the annual Riverboat Days festival and this year there's now a guaranteed sober ride for everyone.

"It's always a great time, Riverboat Days is a hoot. We're just busier than heck,” said Rick Morlen with Pioneer Club. Riverboat Days has always been a money maker for the restaurant, but this year they're expecting an even bigger crowd.

"We'll see an increase in our business,” said Morlen.

Pioneer Club is just one of eight bars in the Wabasha area trying out a new program this year called Joy Ride.

"Hiawatha bus will come and pick you up at certain spots and bring you into Wabasha. So you can enjoy Lost Highway, you can enjoy some beverages, you can have a really good time and then it will take you to your house,” said Cheri Wright, Executive Director of Wabasha-Kellogg Chamber of Commerce.

All it takes for you to get the sober ride is a $10 wrist band that you can buy at any participating bar. They'll be set bus stop times throughout the weekend, so $10 will get you to and from those bars and get you home without a DWI.

"We just want people to come and have a really really good time, so if we can do this as an added benefit in order to do that,” said Wright.

They hope taking away that worry of ‘how do I get home?’ will bring more community members out to the festival.

"People that haven't been out here before maybe they'll say hey let’s try it because we can get out there and we know we can get back safe,” said Morlen. "If it works, it should go on all the time because it's a win-win for everybody,” he said.

If this weekend works well, the Joy Ride program will be expanded to other Wabasha festivals and maybe even every weekend during the summer.