Operation Red Nose numbers remain steady, even with availability of ride-hailing

Operation Red Nose says its ride numbers remain steady, even with the popularity of ride-hailing services and the campaign is still accepting volunteers until New Year's Eve.

The national campaign is in its 36th season and offers rides to people who may be impaired, in the person's own vehicle, all for a donation which goes to help local charities.

"We're really quite grateful for anybody who is willing to put in some time for us," said Julie Martineau, awareness programs co-ordinator with Operation Red Nose.

Volunteers are needed to drive or answer phones until Dec. 31. Volunteer drivers have to undergo a background check.

Martineau said their numbers remain steady, even as ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft have spread across the region.

Operation Red Nose offers their services by donation. 

All the money raised in the Outaouais region supports the charity, Fondation Pat Burns, which recognizes and supports coaches and amateur sport.

Message getting through

Part of the campaign is about raising awareness about the dangers of impaired driving, whether someone's impaired by alcohol, drugs, or is simply tired.

"People are obviously nowadays more aware that they should plan ahead whenever they decide to go around and have a jolly old good time," Martineau said.

"People need to remember that there are options. You don't have to take your car."

But if anyone does take their cars to a holiday party and realize they've had too much holiday cheer, that's where Operation Red Nose comes in.

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The importance of finding an alternative way home when someone has had a bit too much holiday cheer is something Martineau stresses.

"Driving when you don't necessarily have all of your capacities present is dangerous," she said.

"You're putting your life at risk and potentially other lives around you."

Revellers can order rides by calling the campaign's number or through the organization's mobile app.