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Catch a Cab

December 30, 1998

Some area businesses are offering free services to those who have overdone it at New Year's Eve celebrations:




* Turner Taxi, Hagerstown. A fleet of 20 cabs will provide free rides from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. in Washington County. Owner George Turner would prefer if bartenders or hosts/hostesses request rides for their patrons or partygoers. Free rides will not be given for bar-hopping purposes. 301-733-7788.

* Elite Taxi, Martinsburg, W.Va. Two cabs will provide free rides from midnight to 4 a.m. Owner James Owens emphasizes that rides will be given to people's homes only, not to other bars or parties. 1-304-264-8294.

* Maryland Division of American Automobile Assocition. For the second straight year, the division is sponsoring "Operation Tipsy Driver."

Those who have had too much to drink can call AAA's hotline at 1-800-AAA-HELP for a ride or a free tow up to 15 miles. For each mile past that, the cost will be $2.50 per mile, the rate for AAA customers.

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AAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Valuet said anyone, whether they are AAA members or not, may use the service.

There is at least one towing company in every Maryland county participating, Valuet said. This year, the organization added Washington, D.C., and Delaware.

"We're going to just try to keep expanding it every year," she said.

Earle Arnold, owner of 40 West Auto Care and Towing in Frederick, Md., said he thinks it is important.

"It's a community service project. We do it, hopefully, to get one more drunk driver off the road," he said.




- Brendan Kirby and Meg H. Partington

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