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Choices matter: Ding in the New Year with FREE Transit Service New Year’s Eve

For immediate release: Mon, 2017-12-18 10:36

Impaired driving has deadly, life-changing effects.  Enjoy yourself this New Year’s Eve, but make a safe choice and take Transit for free.

Since 1989, Saskatoon Transit and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) have partnered to offer free Transit and Access Transit service on New Year’s Eve.

For Nolan Barnes, the wrong choice had irreversible consequences; an impaired-driving crash in May of 2010 left Barnes paralyzed and a close friend dead. 

“We make decisions every day, some less important than others,” Barnes says.  “Having free transit service on New Year’s Eve makes the decision not to drink and drive easy.” 

“I’m a victim of my decisions.  I lost a friend and the use of my legs before understanding how the choices we make affect more than just us.”  

Barnes says, making a choice to have a safe ride home not only helps individuals but everyone trying to get where they’re going.  

“Make the resolution not to drink and drive,” he says.

Free bus service, starts at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 31 and will run until 2:45 a.m. (times may vary slightly by route).

“Ding in the New Year allows residents to celebrate responsibly by taking advantage of free transit,” says Mayor Charlie Clark.  “This gives residents an option to have a safe ride home without driving under the influence and putting themselves or others at risk.”

The police service adds its support and advice for thinking ahead for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“It is crucial everyone has a solid plan for getting home safely before they head out for the evening,” says Saskatoon Police Service Staff Sergeant Patrick Barbar.

Planning is easier than ever: customers who are new to Saskatoon Transit as well as current riders are encouraged to use the free Transit app to plan their route. Wait at a regular stop or flag down a bus at any point along the route, if you are in need of a ride.

“There is no reason for impaired driving, especially on New Year’s Eve,” says Jim McDonald, Director of Saskatoon Transit.  “We strongly encourage residents to jump on the bus and let us take you to and from your destination.”

“When flagging a bus, use caution, stand on the curb at a safe place for the bus to stop and raise your hand to get the operators attention.”

McDonald says Saskatoon Transit is thankful to have SGI as a partner again this year to provide free service.

“Impaired driving is 100 per cent preventable and there is always a better option than getting behind the wheel if you have been drinking,” says Tyler McMurchy, Media Relations Manager for SGI.  “If your New Year’s Eve plans involve alcohol, take the bus for free with Ding in the New Year or make other plans for a safe, sober ride home.”  

Ding in the New Year