STATEN ISLAND — Residents will be able to get free Uber rides the night before Thanksgiving in an effort to cut down on drunk driving, officials announced Thursday.
The program was spearheaded by Staten Island Borough President James Oddo and District Attorney Michael McMahon to offer two free rides to bargoers on a night that usually has a spike in drunk driving incidents across the state.
The rides will be paid for by nearly $3,500 kicked in by local groups including the Forest Avenue and South Shore business improvement districts, the Richmond County Bar Association and more. Using the code "SISAFERIDE" users can take to and from bars, restaurants and clubs around the borough, Oddo said.
The offer only covers a $15 ride, so if the fare is higher riders will have to pony up the rest.
Oddo said he partnered with Uber because they've had a 330 percent increase in ridership in the borough from 2016 into 2017 and he hopes to extend similar offers in the future to curb the number of drunk driving incidents.
The state sees a 42 percent increase in drunk driving incidents on Thanksgiving eve and a 19 percent increase on Thanksgiving, which is why Oddo chose those nights, he said.
“The night before Thanksgiving is traditionally a big party night where many make bad decisions," Oddo said in a statement. "Through this partnership we want Staten Islanders to know that if they are planning on drinking that night, they have easy access to a ride both to their destination and back home."
The free ride offer will be valid from 6 p.m. on Nov. 22 to 6 a.m. on Nov. 23.