Local designated driving service expands

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A designated driving service that aims to curb drunken driving is now launching in four other states. Albuquerque is where it all started. Designated drivers also work for people in Corrales, Rio Rancho, Belen and Los Lunas.

“I had this idea probably about 10 years before I retired,” Phil Baca said.

A former sergeant with Albuquerque Police, Baca is now one of the owners and founders of Designated Drivers On Demand.

“People would drink, and I used to take them to jail. Now, I take them home,” Baca said.

People can pay a monthly membership fee to have access to a designated driver 24/7. A team of two designated drivers go to the pick-up spot and one of them then drives the member home in his car.

“I have used them for a long time,” a member said.

It is $30 a month, plus the drivers’ tip. Members said it is a small price to pay considering the consequences of drunken driving.

“Oh yeah, I mean can you imagine what it would cost to get a DWI?” a member said.

There are about 1,000 members using the service now and that number is expected to keep growing.

The local business started in the Albuquerque Metro area about three and a half years ago.

Now, it’s expanding to cities in four other states: Tucson, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; Sacramento, California and Islip, New York.

“All of our drivers throughout the state are still going to be friends and family and it’s going to grow from there,” Baca said.

The calls from across the country now will still come through a local dispatcher.

“So somebody in Sacramento, California calling for a designated driver will actually be calling Albuquerque, New Mexico for the ride,” Baca said.

He said the growth is largely due to word of mouth.

“She thought we’d get big,” Baca said, pointing to the other co-founder Kristy Paiz. “We didn’t think it’d be as fast.”

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