Local Bar Offers ‘Safe Ride’ Home

No fee charged to customers

By Michael Turton

A local restaurant and bar has taken a proactive step to ensure that its patrons get home safely and do no harm to others, if they have had “one too many” alcoholic drinks. Cold Spring’s Whistling Willie’s American Grill has leased a car that is now used to drive patrons home if they may have over indulged. The program has been in effect for about two weeks. The Safe Ride car is also available to customers at other local bars. There is no fee for the service. The driver is paid by Whistling Willie’s and receives tips from customers.

Whistling Willie's now offers a free ride home in their Safe Ride car. Photo by M. Turton

Whistling Willie’s now offers a free ride home in their Safe Ride car.
Photo by M. Turton

“We want people to enjoy our craft beers and other beverages, but we thought it was the responsible thing to do, if anyone over-consumes,” said Whistling Willie’s owner Frank Ciafardini. “And if someone at any of the other (local) bars needs a ride we don’t have a problem swinging by that establishment.”

The Safe Ride car is a Subaru Impreza, an all-wheel-drive vehicle that Ciarfardini said was a good choice for difficult winter driving conditions in this area. A number of patrons have already taken advantage of the free ride home. “We’ve given rides to about 25 people” since the program was initiated, he said. “The buzz is that it’s great; customers think it’s fantastic.” Ciarfardini said that customers have been driven to locales in Philipstown, other parts of Putnam County as well as well southern Dutchess County and Northern Westchester County.

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