As the President of the nonprofit organization (the Washington Regional Alcohol Program or WRAP) coordinating Greater Washington’s free cab ride service to prevent drunk driving, SoberRide, my promised follow-up here is intended less to detail the customer service response Katie received since her unfortunate SoberRide experience this past New Year’s Day (I will let her categorize as much if she so chooses safe to say that her complaint – along with the other three we received for services provided last week – ascended to WRAP’s SoberRide Committee Chairman who also happens to be Vice President of the company serving as the communications center providing in-kind services to both process the literally thousands of SoberRide calls WRAP receives annually AND dispatches the same to nearly a dozen contracted cab companies throughout Greater Washington which collaboratively provide the area’s SoberRide service) but more to provide greater clarity to this 15-year-old, privately paid for, community service.
Specifically and in addition to WRAP annually contracting of nearly one-dozen taxicab companies to provide this regional service, WRAP recently added a second taxicab provider serving the District of Columbia specifically. (This is brought up in the fact that – and unlike what happened with Katie last week – when it’s known that one of our DC operators isn’t able to service a SoberRide call, another SoberRide contractor could provide said same service.)
And perhaps most importantly and as corrective action stemming from Katie’s situation last week and via this recent cab provider addition, a new protocol will be added as needed to WRAP’s future and existing formal governances regarding its SoberRide program that being to, within a standardized period of time, have taxicab providers provide confirmation of SoberRide pick-ups (back to where calls were originally dispatched) or defer calls to another area provider to provide this same service.
As the organization which funds (to the tune of $ 60,000 annually in cab fares, alone) and administers the Washington-metropolitan area’s SoberRide program, WRAP has a demonstrated commitment to this potentially lifesaving service despite its labeling by some as just “free cab rides…what did you expect?” We promote SoberRide as an alternative to drunk driving and do not take it lightly when that service doesn’t live up to its expectation. That said, the four complaints we received for service on the 31st (when we provided 468 rides home to persons whom otherwise may have driven drunk) are four too many. Hence the aforementioned corrective actions.
Lastly, SoberRide is as only as good of a service as the individuals who thankfully use it. We value feedback and, as hopefully already demonstrated, hope to provide better service as a result of that feedback. That said, I would invite anyone who has had either a positive or negative experience with SoberRide to step out of the “me, too” blog line and contact me directly at either email@example.com or at 703 / 893-0461.
In the meantime, I thank anyone and everyone whom either has used — or will use — SoberRide since its inception and for their valued contributions to deterring drunk driving in Greater Washington.
Kurt Gregory Erickson, President
Washington Regional Alcohol Program (www.wrap.org)
Thanks to Kurt, and George Pakidis, the VP of Red Top Cab. I hope to sit down with George in the near future to do an interview on how, exactly, getting a taxi in DC works from the inside. Stay tuned, DC.