LASD file photo
[KHTS] – Santa Clarita Valley officials Wednesday are urging residents to plan ahead on New Year’s Eve, and KHTS created a list of options for Santa Clarita Valley taxi services, safe rides and designated drivers.
“The No. 1 thing that comes to mind for safety on New Year’s Eve is finding a sober driver,” said Deputy Josh Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
“There are a variety of smartphone applications that are available to help,” he said, mentioning Lyft and Uber, among others.
On the two-day period last year between Dec. 31, 2013, and Jan. 1, 2014, officials made 10 DUI arrests just in Santa Clarita, between the Newhall California Highway Patrol Office and Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Additionally, there were five arrests by Santa Clarita deputies for public intoxication and/or possession of a controlled substance.
“Hopefully, motorists will be knowledgeable about the dangers of drinking and driving, and plan ahead — that’s really the key,” said Officer John Lutz of the California Highway Patrol. “We’re not discouraging people from getting out and having a good time, we’re discouraging them from then getting behind the wheel.”
Designated Drivers, and other options for a safe ride home on New Year’s Eve
For those who are partying locally and have a last-minute change of plans leaving them in need of a designated driver, there might be a bit of a wait — but there are options.
In order to help keep the roads safer, roadside service AAA is offering free local towing for New Year’s Eve, according to Tchovia Alexander, customer service representative for the Valencia office of AAA.
“(Tow-truck drivers) will tow you up to 10 miles,” Alexander said, adding that for New Year’s Eve only, the service free for members and non-members as long as it’s within that mileage range.
Drivers do need to have a valid photo ID. The number to call for AAA free tow service is 1-800-222-4357.
For minors who are partying and need a ride home, Santa Clarita Valley Safe Rides is operational from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and offering “a free and confidential ride home,” according to its website.
The free ride home is for teenagers who are not in a condition to drive, and for those who don’t want to ride with an unsafe driver. The number to call for Santa Clarita Valley Safe Rides is 661-259-6330.
Other companies providing safe rides in the Santa Clarita Valley
Social media apps such as Uber and Lyft offer a for-pay online taxi service, whereby someone can download the free app, which will link up to a person’s GPS and let the user know what drivers are available in their respective areas.
Designated Drivers of Santa Clarita is a local company on Facebook that charges $20 for a ride home in Santa Clarita on New Year’s Eve. The number for Designated Drivers of Santa Clarita is 661-313-8336, and according to a message on the line, the DD will start taking calls at 5 p.m. for inquiries, and rides become available after 7 p.m.
If people would like a taxi on New Year’s Eve, local Santa Clarita Taxi company is also available, and preparing for a long night, said owner Rob Rasmussen, who said the company has been operating for more than 20 years in Santa Clarita.
If a taxi is requested, an operator will call back to confirm when the cab is available, he said, adding the company sometimes gets about 350 calls on New Year’s Eve.
“People can only schedule rides in advance prior to 10 p.m.,” he said. “Between the hours of 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., we just can’t guarantee a specific time, but we will get there as soon as possible.”
Depending on where the nearest cab is, during the busiest hours, sometimes a ride is available within 15 minutes, however, after 11 p.m. a wait of more than an hour would not be surprising, he added. The number for Santa Clarita Taxi is 661-260-2227.
There’s a standard rate for Los Angeles County, he said, noting the meter starts at $2.85 and charges an additional $2.70 per mile, for those considering a taxi budget for their ride home after a party, he said.
“We’re still working really, really hard at 5 and 6 in the morning,” he said. “It’s a long night, but we’ll be here.”