TIGNISH -- Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry estimated he provided free transportation to and from festive parties to about 100 people this year.
This is the third consecutive year that Perry has offered tree transportation in an effort to keep impaired drivers off the road and to heighten awareness about the issue of impaired driving.
“Overall, again, it was a success, and I came away from that evening feeling so good. I slept very, very well that night - not only because I was tired, but because I know it was a success, said Perry. “I really feel like I was making a difference.”
Most of his designated driver rides were carried out between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s morning. “I don’t think I could handle anymore than that with the steady going,” he said.
“It gives me an opportunity to go pick up people. You go to their home and they’re out in the barn partying and they’re not quite ready, so you go in and get them and you have a chance to mingle. To me, that was an entertaining night - a lot of good stories were being told to me.”
One change this year is some of his free fares arranged their transportation by inboxing him this year through Facebook.
Perry has stated the service is not about raising money, but he agreed to accept donations if riders insisted. Ultimately he accepted $160 which he applied towards the purchase of a medical lift chair for an area senior.
Most of his New Year’s Eve rides were to and from dances at Tignish Legion, Palmer Road Hall and the West Prince French school. He also provided rides to and from New Years Day levees and he responded to one call an evening three times between Christmas and New Year’s.
Even for those who did not take advantage of the service, Perry said he believes the service has a positive impact. He also acknowledges there are other designated drivers out there, including many parents who have instructed their children to call them at any hour of the night for a ride rather than driving impaired or getting in with a driver who was impaired.
“I think a lot of youth are taking their parents up on that offer,”he suggested.
He is also encouraged that his son, Jack, wanted to assist with the service this year. Perry said the opportunity will be available to his son to help out next year once he completes the graduated license program.
“He wants to help,“ Perry acknowledged. “That’s one of the reasons for this, to raise the awareness and set the example.”