The state has shut down the “Safe Ride” shuttle system in Nebraska City that offered bar patrons rides home for the price of whatever tips they saw fit.
Mark Breiner, director of Motor Transportation for the Nebraska Public Service Commission, says the shuttle offered a noble type of service, but it’s likely not legal.
“With money trading hands, they may not be actually charging but it would appear they’re receiving tips and donations for operating the service,” Breiner says. “That could put it into a commercial circumstance and I think quite likely does put it in a commercial operation situation which creates issues with insurance.”
The shuttle started making runs in February, offering rides home to patrons who’d had too much to drink. Over the course of five weeks, the shuttle gave 131 rides for tips and donations.
Breiner says in legal terms, it’s a business and certain standards need to be met.
“There needs to be $1.5-million dollars of liability insurance and that also mirrors the federal requirements for an operation of this type,” Breiner says. “There is an application process they can file with gathering some background information, applying to the commission for what they would like to do and where they would like to do it.”
The shuttle has been operated by two Nebraska City men, Travis Gillespie and Frank Trombino.
In addition to the insurance, Breiner says the men would have to sign up for commercial permits as well if they want to operate the business. He notes, at least two other similar businesses have been created in Nebraska in recent years after jumping through the proper hoops.
By Nate Gonner, KNCY, Nebraska City