Free rides start St. Patrick’s Day as bars, restaurants expect business hike

Free rides will be available today — St. Patrick’s Day — through early Sunday morning for Montgomery County residents who have had too much to drink.

The county prosecutor’s office said that service will be available for residents through the ArriveSafe program from 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Sunday.

“There is no excuse to … get in a car after celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and drive under the influence,” Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said Wednesday.

“After celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, what would you rather do? Would you rather go to jail in the back seat of a cruiser handcuffed … or go home free of charge?” he asked.

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ArriveSafe offers free Uber rides home for county residents, up to a $50 value, officials said. Rides can be obtained by calling (937) 449-9999.

Heck said St. Patrick’s Day is known for being the number one day for consuming beer and — nationally — about two out of every traffic fatalities on March 17 involve impaired drivers.

“Don’t be a statistic,” Heck said. “There’s no reason — there’s no need — for you to be a statistic.”

Area restaurant and bar operators said they expect an increase in business this weekend. St. Patrick Day, a full day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament games and a warmer weather forecast all coincide with the first non-COVID restricted annual Irish celebration since 2019.

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It comes on the same week that the University of Dayton Arena hosted the First Four, which featured Wright State University. The UD Arena is also the site of the Ohio boys high school basketball tournament with Alter and Centerville playing this weekend.

“We’re very grateful to have the program,” said Steve Tieber, an owner of Dublin Pub, which is preparing to host about 12,000 customers today.

The Wayne Avenue business is teaming with Flanagan’s Pub on East Stewart Street to offer free shuttles between those sites.

“We’ve got beautiful weather,” said Nick Keyes Jr., Flanagan’s co-owner. “We’re all excited. It’s going to be fun.”

ArriveSafe is not financed from taxpayers’ money, but is funded through forfeitures from convicted drug dealers, Heck said.

The Montgomery County’s Sheriff’s Office and its OVI Task Force will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint in conjunction with the St. Patrick’s Day, MCSO Media Director Christine Bevins said in an email. Details of the location were not released.

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