A new service in Manhattan is out to combat driving under the influence by getting people —and their vehicles — home safely. ACT4Safety, or Alternative Consumer Transportation, opened its doors last week.
Steve Milton, CEO and owner of the company, got the idea for the company from a family get together during which he employed his son and his son’s friend to drive home guests.
“That got the seed going in my head that this was a good business model to stop impaired driving,” Milton said.
He asked business students at Kansas State University to determine whether the service would be feasible in Manhattan, and they found it would. The key, Milton said, is that the service overcomes one of the factors prompting drunk drivers to get behind the wheel rather than call a taxi or other service: they don’t want to leave their car behind.
“The other forms of transportation are just limited,” Milton said, including by their inability to drive the car as well as the driver home. ACT4Safety overcomes that by using a team of drivers: one drives the person and his car, the second drives a companion car that transports the ACT driver back.
ACT4Safety has various services: ACTParty, a driving service for large groups or parties; ACTChauffeur, where the ACT team provides a driver for a carload for a certain amount a time; and ACTservice, which is used to get customers and their vehicles home from where they are currently drinking. Milton said the latter service can be used last minute at bar close, but his preference is for customers to “be responsible for their ride,” and call ahead to reserve a team.
“We want you to call us at 8 p.m. because you know you are going to go to Aggieville to book us at 2 a.m.,” Milton said.
Callers complete a brief contract consisting of several questions concerning liability, insurance, payment and other basics.
Milton said that his drivers are all certified, with clean background checks and driving records, and also wear a standard uniform of yellow shirts, black slacks and a badge that identifies each.
The rate for each drive starts at $20 and then mileage is added at a rate of $5 per two miles. The service runs about a 20-mile radius around Manhattan, including Fort Riley, Wamego and Junction City. So far, business has been steady. Milton said he had a few calls during his opening weekend to get some people home. The service is different from fixed-route systems such as Saferide, where users have to get to a pickup point.
“There are two things they invest in in their life, one is a house, the second is a car,” he said. “We understand that this is your baby … it’s about getting you home safely and your car.”