MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many will be ringing in the new year by tipping a few back. A few too many can mean you’ll have to call a cab — unless you’re at one of several Twin Cities bars that offers a one-of-a kind service.
Last Call Car Service not only makes sure you get home from the bar safe and sound, but your car does too.
On a late Saturday night at Lucky’s 13 Pub in Burnsville, bar patrons get in their cars, but let someone else do the driving.
“It gives people an opportunity to go out have a little fun do the responsible thing,” said Jeffrey Lutz, owner of Last Call Car Service.
His company drives people home in their own cars. A second car follows, to escort the driver.
“I think that is one of the biggest problems is people don’t want to leave their car at the bar, that’s one of the main reasons people do get a DWI is because they want their car at home,” Lutz said.
Lutz says he came up with the idea while sitting on a bar stool.
“As I sat there talking to the bartender, I said you guys should pay for a service like this,” he said.
Last Call services 22 bars across the Twin Cities, at no charge to the customer. Some 70 trained drivers are all volunteers and work off tips. The bars just pay a flat fee per night to have the service that comes with a peace of mind.
“The bars like it because we help them with their liability, people are more likely to frequent the bars where we’re at, so it helps the bars,” Lutz said.
Lucky’s 13 server Alec Teagarten says he’s used Last Call after a night of drinking himself.
“It’s reassuring you can wake up the next morning, your car is in your driveway, you don’t need to worry about how you’re going to get to work in the morning,” he said.
But as a server he most appreciates knowing his customers can get home safely.
“It’s a liability for not only the server, but also the restaurant, you could lose your liquor license if you over serve somebody, they get in a crash, police investigate, and they find out this man had ‘x’ amount of drinks at this bar,” Teagarden said. “This is kind of also a safety net.”
Between the bar workers, customers and Last Call everybody seems to win. But for Lutz the company is more than a business venture. With a DWI on his own record, it’s also a form of redemption.
“Certain point of time in my life I made some mistakes and I thought I’m going to do something that’s going to benefit society, benefit small business, do something to make our roads a little safer,” he said.
And he’s well on his way in doing that. The numbers during the busiest holiday weekends speak for themselves.
“On St. Patrick’s Day weekend, we removed more impaired people from the road than DWIs that weekend in the state of Minnesota, we removed 564 people,” Lutz said. “I sleep very well knowing that our drivers, our company, we’re saving some lives.”
Last Call is also available for private events for a fee. They do holiday and corporate parties and weddings.
They also have a program called “Taking Care of Our Heroes” where all active military, police, fire and EMS workers can get a ride home for free from anywhere, it doesn’t have to be at one of the participating bars.
Here is a link to all of the bars that offer Last Call Car Service: http://www.lastcallcarservice.org/two-olive-sponsors.html