A new service designed to get people home safe in their own cars is to be launched in a first for Bermuda.
HomeSafe — part of security firm Security Associates headed by former Road Safety Council head Carlton Crockwell — aims to provide drivers a way to get home after a night out without risking their licence, their safety or the safety of other road users.
Dr Crockwell explained trained and uniformed Security Associates operatives will use fold-up mini-motorbikes to arrive a pre-arranged time and place, collapse the bike, store it in the vehicle, drive the customers home and return to HomeSafe’s base in St John’s Road, Pembroke, on their bikes.
He said HomeSafe already had one bike on the island and the service had been trialled quietly for a year to ensure the system would run smoothly.
Dr Crockwell added the service was based on a similar one set up by a Cayman Islands-based affiliate of Security Associates’ sister firm Bermuda Security Group.
He said: “We came up with idea because I saw so many accidents and I wanted to make sure people got home safe.
“If we get people home safe, the chances of hitting something or someone isn’t there any more.”
But he said the service was not just for people who wanted to enjoy a night out without worrying about being over the drink driving limit on the way home.
One of the first bookings for the service was a St George’s woman who had to drive to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for treatment for diabetes, which left her too weak to drive herself home.
Dr Crockwell said: “We took her home and made sure she got there safe — it’s not just for people who have been drinking.”
He added that two staff, one a supervisor, would attend early hours bookings to make sure clients were well and able to travel.
Dr Crockwell said: “It’s very safe — if it’s after 3am, for example, there will be two of our people, a supervisor and a driver, to assess if people are all right. If it’s after 2am, it’s also for our own protection.”
He added: “We’ve given away some free rides to people and it’s working.”
Dr Crockwell said the service would continue to be tested over the summer with a full launch expected at the end of August.
When fully operational, clients will pay a $500 subscription fee, plus a service charge, comparable to a taxi fare, on a three-zone area of central, east and west.
At present, test clients, which have included business executives out to dinner, are only charged the service fee.
The current single bike is expected to be augmented by three or four more as the full service kicks in.
Dr Crockwell said: “I’m very pleased with the testing phase — people are inquiring about the service — they didn’t know it existed.”
He added: “I believe it’s what Bermuda needs. We have consulted with all the stakeholders — insurance companies, the Transport Control Department and others. They’re all very excited about this and so are we.”
He added that further services for drivers should be launched by Security Associates next year, including a drive-home service for people who have, for example, lost their keys, with HomeSafe delivering the car back to the owner later.