MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Transit System, Miller Brewing, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office are teaming up to encourage responsible celebrations over the upcoming 2019 St. Patrick's Day Weekend. A joint press conference was held Friday, March 15 to discuss efforts to keep residents safe -- including the popular Miller Lite Free Rides program.
Friendly MCTS drivers
"We want to remind the motoring public to celebrate responsibly," said Daniel Hughes, MCSO Deputy Inspector. "Here's our message: If you've been drinking, don't get behind the wheel of any vehicle. Period. Take a free ride on a Milwaukee County Bus operated by our MCTS partners."
In 2018, the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office arrested a total of 873 people for operating under the influence -- and 19 of those OWI arrests were over St. Patrick's Day weekend. This year, that number is trending along the same lines. 162 people have been arrested for OWI violations as of March 15.
"If you are arrested, you will end up getting a free ride, but it will be from us," said Hughes. "And that destination will be the Milwaukee County Jail."
This year, free rides will be offered on Saturday, March 16 instead of St. Patrick's Day. County Executive Chris Abele noted that MCTS buses are driven by "fantastic public servants that you regularly read heroic stories about -- people who are professional and kind, and will give you a free and safe ride."
"Getting behind the wheel when you've had a drink isn't just a danger to you -- it's a danger to everyone else," said Abele. "We take that extremely seriously. If you're going to be celebrating, don't even bring the car. Take the bus."
Miller Lite is sponsoring the free rides for its 26th year. Diane Wagner, the alcohol responsibility for Miller Brewing, echoed the safety sentiments.
"We're privileged to have a great employer and a great brewery here in town," said Wagner. "They don't just make great beer that you'll be using to celebrate -- they're also helping you get home safely."
Miller Lite Free Rides will be available on all MCTS routes starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 until the end of regular service. You can learn more about the Miller Lite Free Rides program by clicking HERE.