A national safe ride program has been ensuring residents in Winnipeg get home safely this holiday season.
Operation Red Nose offers free safe ride services in communities across Canada, including the capital of Manitoba. Residents can request a ride by calling, and a team of volunteers are dispatched to drive them and their car home. It’s a service that aims to combat impaired driving, according to the national website.
Locally, the service has been up and running since 1995. It runs from the end of November to December, with volunteers providing rides every Friday and Saturday night until Christmas. The service concludes on New Year’s Eve.
Sharra Hinton, coordinator for Operation Red Nose in Winnipeg, said that the organization provided approximately 600 rides last year. She added that the number has been down since the pandemic.
The number for this year will be available once it concludes the season.
“I’m hoping that if somebody is out and enjoying the holidays… they’re making a smart choice. That they’re not drinking and driving there,” said Hinton. “We just want to make sure everybody’s doing the smart thing when they’re enjoying the holiday season.”
To Hinton, the rides are a valuable service for residents, giving them a perfect way to get home safe if they decide to have a couple of drinks and aren’t comfortable driving home.
“You can drive to the party when you want to go. When you’re ready to go and head home, you simply phone us and we dispatch a drive team out to you,” said Hinton.
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When someone calls in for a ride, two volunteers drive the caller home in their own vehicle followed by a third volunteer driving behind them in an escort vehicle. Hinton added that the service is only available for those with their own car, emphasizing that the work volunteers do is not a taxi service.
As for why she continues to volunteer for the organization, Hinton said it’s a great way to meet people who are appreciative of the work Operation Red Nose does.
“I think any time you have an option for people to get home safely when they’re out drinking and consuming cannabis, it’s a great thing,” said Hinton.
Aside from Winnipeg, residents in several other cities throughout Manitoba can also utilize the service. A full list of those cities and subsequent information can be found online.
Operation Red Nose hoping Winnipeggers make safe choice during holiday season
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