Looking for a designated driver in West Prince this New Year's Eve? Call MLA Hal Perry
Tignish-Palmer Road MLA says he has his district covered for sober rides
Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry is continuing an annual tradition he started after he was first elected in 2011 — offering to be a designated driver for his constituents on New Year's Eve, free of charge.
Perry says there are many reasons why he wanted to offer rides on New Year's Eve, but one in particular hit home hardest.
"I had young teenage boys who were going to get their licence within a few years, and I wanted to teach them a bit of responsibility that comes with a driver's licence, and to plan ahead, not to drink and drive," he said.
Perry said he offers the service so people in his district can "go out and have an evening, not be concerned about who's going to drive home."
It is difficult sometimes to get people out of the car because they love to chat, especially after having a little bit of liquid encouragement.— Hal Perry, MLA
"Unfortunately in rural P.E.I. we don't have a public transit system, we don't have taxis, but there are other alternatives, which is designated drivers," Perry said.
He said people looking to get a ride can contact him on Facebook, or give him a text or a call.
Since starting the campaign, it has expanded outside the holiday season, Perry said.
"I've been doing wedding events throughout the year," he said.
"It is not uncommon for me to get a call just any particular weekend, any night of the week, from people looking for a drive home and I gladly do it."
'Favourite night of the year'
Perry said he drives about 100 people to and from events on New Year's Eve, "which keeps me busy for most of the night."
"I keep it within the Tignish-Palmer Road area so I am able to get to and from very quickly," he said.
"It is difficult sometimes to get people out of the car because they love to chat, especially after having a little bit of liquid encouragement."
It's just so gratifying to go out and to know that I am making a difference.— Hal Perry, MLA
Perry said he hears interesting stories and people are very co-operative.
"It's probably my favourite night of the year," he said.
'Makes my New Year's'
Perry said it gives him "so much pleasure" to offer the service.
"It's just so gratifying to go out and to know that I am making a difference and that I am offering this service and people appreciate it. That makes my New Year's," he said.
Perry said driving his constituents is a fun way to get to know them and he hasn't had any issues.
"I haven't had anybody that gave me any problem whatsoever."
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With files from Angela Walker