One For The Road

Even if the perfect Halloween costume calls for precariously high heels, a forty of malt liquor in a paper bag or some clever combination of the two, a night of dressed-up debauchery need not involve blisters or, more importantly, drunk driving. Thanks to a new initiative in Boston and Cambridge called Sober Ride, local taxis will ferry drunken revelers around Cambridge and the Fanueil Hall area for free to keep the streets safer and, most likely, taxi drivers surlier than usual.

“Halloween is one of the four most deadly holidays for drinking and driving,” according to Audrey Butterworth, coordinator for Sober Ride in Boston (the other three are New Year’s Eve. St. Patrick’s Day and Memorial Day) so this year, with corporate sponsorship from AT&T Wireless, and support from the Cambridge Licensing Commission, party-goers can traipse around town for free. A simple call to 1-888-601-TAXI will get a cab dispatched to “eating and drinking establishments” around Cambridge and will make sure customers get home safely.

As for non-loaded free-loaders, Butterworth says that she thinks the free taxi honor system has worked well so far. “To this date, there has not been any abuse of the program. We don’t ask anyone to take a test,” she says.

The one hitch in the campaign: a slightly misguided slogan encouraging people to “Be a Backseat Driver, Not a Reckless One!” Butterworth, laughing at the notion of drunk people in Halloween costumes shouting driving directions, admits that what they probably meant to say was simply “stay off the road.”