2016-12-29 / Life in Leelanau

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Sheriff’s Department, cab drivers prepare for aftermath of New Year’s Eve 2017
By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

So you’re planning on entering the new year with a bang.

Years ago, New Year’s Eve was a big deal — one of the biggest party nights of the year. But there’s a greater awareness about the dangers of drunk driving and state laws reflect this accordingly.

Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid hurting yourself and others, there’s a high price to pay with a drunk driving conviction on your record.

Your bar tab for the night will pale in comparison to the cost of losing your license, lost work, legal fees, court costs and fines and increased insurance rates.

What to do?

“Man up. If you’re going to have more than two drinks, have a designated driver, call your parents or a cab,” Sheriff Mike Borkovich said. “Take personal responsibility and be a good example for your kids and family.”

New Year’s Eve is the single biggest night of the year for those in the business of getting people from here to there.


LEELANAU COUNTY Sheriff Mike Borkovich said those planning to have more than two drinks on New Year’s Eve need to line up a designated driver, family member or cab driver to help them get home safely. LEELANAU COUNTY Sheriff Mike Borkovich said those planning to have more than two drinks on New Year’s Eve need to line up a designated driver, family member or cab driver to help them get home safely. “We’re slammed. There’s really not enough cabs to keep up,” said Doug Dornbos, owner of Cherry Capital Cab in Traverse City.

“Every cab and every driver available is working.”

Dornbos converts his daytime cabbies to the night shift to handle the number of calls.

Within Traverse City, Cherry Capital’s rate is $2.80 per mile. But like the cost of living in Leelanau County, if you go to Traverse City to watch the cherry drop, it will cost you a little more to get back home.

A trip from downtown Traverse City to Cedar will cost about $42.

“It doesn’t make much sense to call us if you want a ride from Leland to Suttons Bay because it’s so far from our base,” Dornbos said.

His dispatchers work diligently to send cabs to passengers. But don’t expect to see them lickity-split.

“Wait time can be an issue,” he said. “Last year, at the worst, it was 45 minutes to an hour. So, if you can think ahead an hour, give us a call.”

Dornbos said most New Year’s Eve passengers are well behaved. Others … not so much.

“Oh, we get riders who stiff us. But they change their tune when they find out that anything $100 or more is felony,” Dornbos said. Those who aren’t accustomed to taking a cab should know that tipping is welcome.

“If a driver can’t make money in tips New Year’s Eve, there’s something wrong,” Dornbos said.

Like the food industry, the amount of the tip should be commensurate with the service given.

“If you’re thrilled, you can tip 20 percent or more,” he said.

Another alternative for partiers is catching a ride with the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA).

The regional bus system is offering a special program New Year’s Eve.

Between 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday, BATA will pick up riders and take them to or from a destination in a coverage area from Suttons Bay south toward Traverse City.

“We’ll be covering an area in a 10 to 15-mile radius,” BATA communications director Eric Lingaur said. “In Leelanau, if you were to draw an imaginary line across the county from Suttons Bay west, we could come to get you.”

There is a one-way charge of $5.

Like the cab service, BATA encourages those who know their plans to call ahead (941-2324).

Last New Year’s Eve, BATA provided rides to 150 people.

Whatever you do, don’t expect to get a ride home from local Sheriff’s Department deputies.

“In the age of law, lawyers and liability, we can’t do that anymore,” Borkovich said. “If we see you standing along the road, we’ll call a cab. If we were to give you a ride, that would take away time spent on patrolling for other drunks.”

Return to top