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Free cab rides offered for New Year's partiers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- C&H Taxi expects to have more than double its usual number of calls late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning as people celebrate the new year.

The cab company will continue its tradition of making sure people have a safe way home New Year's Eve by offering courtesy "IntoxiTaxi" rides.

Police are stepping up patrols during the holiday to look for drivers impaired from too much celebration.

The free taxi ride is good for any trip that starts or ends in Kanawha County up to 15 miles. Any distance beyond that and the passenger must pay the remainder out of pocket, said Jeb Corey, owner of C&H.

"We usually do about 600 calls that evening, about twice as much as what we normally do," Corey said.

There are a few exceptions to the free service, Corey said. The person requesting the ride must be going straight home -- not to another bar or party. And everyone in the taxi must be buckled up, he said.

The passengers must also be able to say "IntoxiTaxi" before the ride can begin. Corey said the keyword is to ensure the passenger is awake and aware of their surroundings.

The taxi company has offered the rides during the holidays off and on throughout its 32 years, Corey said. Miller Lite and Capitol Beverage sponsor the event, so the company doesn't suffer a monetary loss.

This year, thanks to Miller Lite, Corey said, the cab company has offered rides every Saturday since Thanksgiving weekend.

Those who need a ride are encouraged to use the company's smartphone app, which can be downloaded at chtaxi.com. Alternatively, passengers should call 304-344-4902 beginning at 10 p.m. Tuesday and ending at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

"With the app, you won't have to call in to book the ride. Just pull the app up on your Android or iPhone, and that way you're not waiting on a call taker to take the call," Corey said. "You're assigned a cab number and you can see how far away it is and track it on a map."

State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous said troopers would step up patrols Tuesday night to identify people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Several troopers will be paid overtime to help catch DUI suspects and reduce accidents, he said. They will patrol Tuesday night and into early Wednesday, along interstate highways and minor roadways.

Capt. Sean Crosier of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department said 23 deputies would be on the road on New Year's Eve and into New Year's Day. Deputies will adopt a zero-tolerance attitude toward drunken drivers, he said.

Crosier urges motorists who have been drinking to use a designated driver, call a taxi or wait until sober before driving.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.


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