Montreal

Nez Rouge doesn't want to be your Plan A for getting home on New Year's Eve

Volunteers at Nez Rouge will be on hand to give drivers a lift home on their busiest night of the year.

Volunteers expect to work until about 7 a.m. on Jan. 1 as they deal with NYE backlog

Nez Rouge's Montreal headquarters gets about 1,000 calls per 45 minutes on an average night and that doubles on NYE. (Opération Nez Rouge)

Quebecers across the province are gearing up for an evening of celebration — and New Year's Eve usually means drinking.

For volunteers at Nez Rouge, its the busiest night of the holiday season.

Longtime Nez Rouge volunteer Mark Infante encourages people to use the service, but said people should have "a plan A, B, C, D and E" for getting home.

"Nez Rouge is a service, but it's not an essential service. The people have to think about another way to go home," Infante said.

On most December nights, the Montreal headquarters gets about 1,000 calls per 45 minutes from people who are too inebriated or tired to drive home. But on New Year's Eve, that number doubles, according Infante.

"It's gonna get very busy," he told CBC Montreal's Daybreak

People who aren't in a state to drive can access the service in three ways:

  • In Montreal, call 514-256-2510.
  • Around Quebec City, call 1-866-DESJARDINS.
  • Anywhere, download the Nez Rouge app in the App Store or Google Play store.

The app finds your location and is user-friendly, even if you've had too much to drink, Infante said.

"Let's say you're in Laval, it'll patch you to Laval," Infante said. "You press the button, it'll make the call for you."

The service starts at 8 p.m. and ends at 3 a.m. But volunteers won't be done until 6:30 or 7 a.m., he said, due to waiting calls.

He said it doesn't matter what kind of substances a customer has taken, as long as it's safe and they are non-violent, the service is available to them.

"If you're tired, you took alcohol, you took some drugs, we don't judge. It's all the same for us."

Volunteering

Infante said it isn't even necessary to have a driver's licence to volunteer for Nez Rouge.

"We'll use you inside the headquarters to take calls, welcome teams. We need all kinds of people," he said.

Each team consists of three people: one who drives their own car, one who drives the customer's car and one person who writes the receipt and makes sure everything goes smoothly.

There's no schedule, but the service is always looking for more volunteers to help address the volume of calls.

One hundred teams, Infante said, require 300 people, because there are three people per team.

25 years of Nez Rouge

Over the 25 years he's been volunteering with the organization, Infante said he's noticed people are more responsible, and that a lot of young people are using the service and volunteering.

"The young people want to give back. If you use Nez Rouge one night, come and do it one night. Why not?" he said.

With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak

now