The Tipsy? Taxi! poster from 2010 (AAA Mid-Atlantic )
The Tipsy? Taxi! service from Yellow Cab, which offers free cab rides on several holidays throughout the year, is returning to Baltimore on New Year's Eve.
It'll be the fourth year in a row the service, which has been criticized for being sluggish and dropping calls, will be offered in the city.
On the 31st, the Charm City Circulator with also have extended hours.
Tipsy? Taxi!, sponsored by Yellow Cab, AAA Mid-Atlantic, and this year, the Motor Vehicle Administration, aims to keep drunk drivers off the road on drinking holidays. It's typically also offered during the July 4th and St. Patrick's Day.
On New Year's Eve, the service is offered to anyone over 21 from midnight to 4 a.m. Cabs only take guests from a bar to their homes. The service is available within Baltimore city limits only and cover cab rides under $50.
Those wishing to use the service, call 877-963-Taxi.
One change this year is the sponsor, which in the past had been the State Highway Administration. The MVA is the sponsor this year because the Maryland Highway Safety Office, the service's original partner, is now a division of the MVA instead of the SHA, said a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. It's not clear if the SHA stepped out after it had begun an inquiry looking into complaints over the service last year.
Last December, Yellow Cab missed about 18 percent of all Tipsy calls, and the waiting time for one of the cabs was as long as 45 minutes. Complaints prompted an inquiry looking into the service.
The complaints and wait times translated into modest use of the service: only 92 rides last year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
During St. Patrick's Day service improved - to 190 rides - except during the peak hours between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., when 34 percent of calls were dropped, said a AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman.
On New Year's Eve, there will be other public transportation options: the Circulator is operating until 1 a.m. (and starting at 9 a.m. New Year's day).
And the metro and light rail are both working for an hour after the fireworks display has ended.