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Companies willing to take wheel to prevent drunk driving


Charles Martin November 12th, 2009

A migrating party means that at least one person loses out when he or she is saddled with the role of designated driver, spending the night cradling tonic water. Party hosts wanting to keep the ...

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A migrating party means that at least one person loses out when he or she is saddled with the role of designated driver, spending the night cradling tonic water. Party hosts wanting to keep the night moving without chaining anyone to the steering wheel can acquire alternate transportation that allows the entire group to let loose.

MANY BENEFITS
PINK LIMO

Limousines are the traditional party-on-wheels cliché, but David Guthrie had another idea. He started up OKC Party Bus 11 years ago after throwing a bachelor party for his friend and experiencing the limitations of a stretch limo.

"We had 24 guys, and it was the inconvenience of being separated into two limos that got me thinking," Guthrie said. "Only one group could spend time with the bachelor when we were going from one place to the next, so I thought it would be good to have a bus so everyone can stay together and have a good time."

That's when the first OKC Party Bus emerged on the streets, with flames painted on its exterior, a state-of-the-art sound system booming on the inside and room cleared for a dance floor. Guthrie now has four buses roaming around, which can each carry about 30 passengers.

MANY BENEFITS
Rates vary upon nights and availability, from $75 to $225, but Guthrie said that clients are willing to pay it because of the many benefits of having someone else cart their party around. He added that alcohol is also permitted on board.

"As long as the passengers are all 21, they can bring whatever alcohol they like " beer, liquor or wine " and we can, of course, get them home safely," he said. "What we do keeps people from drinking and driving. When people are having a party, they are staying off the road, and that has been part of our focus since the company's inception."

Iguana Mexican Grill, 9 N.W. Ninth, can also tote around customers with its own bus, a converted 14-passenger vehicle that was bought off eBay.

"We flew someone up to Fort Wayne, Ind., so they drove it home at 45 miles per hour at five miles per gallon," said Iguana owner/general manager Robert Painter. "It took him two days to get it back here."

The primary function of the bus is to serve as a free shuttle for Iguana customers attending Oklahoma City Thunder games. Painter said the restaurant has trucked as many as 70 people in one night to the Ford Center and back. If customers wants to leave at halftime, they can call to be picked up.

Painter said it wasn't long before customers were voicing interest in the bus for other uses aside from its shuttle services.

"If you have a bunch of friends, we will pick you up so you can come eat and drink, and then we'll take you back home at no cost other than the tip to the driver," Painter said. "If you want us to run you around for a while, we charge $50 an hour; if you just want to rent it for the evening, it's $75 an hour."

PINK LIMO
Stretch limousines aren't exactly antiquated yet, and some businesses utilize the automobile's luxurious perception to add allure to their services. The salon Sweet & Sassy, 315 N. Blackwelder in Edmond, catering to girls aged 4 to 12, has a long, pink limo available to add to a day of pampering.

"Parties can add the limo on as an extra service, so it can pick up the girls at their house and then bring them to the party and back as well," store manager Kristen Hammett said.

The service can be added on to a birthday party, starting at $150 and up, depending on mileage. Hammett said that the limo and salon experience is similar to their moms' salon, but tweaked to appeal to the younger set.

"The interior of the limo is pink, there is hot-pink shag carpeting and an iPod playing sweet and sassy music like Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers," she said. "Most of the girls haven't ever had a limo ride before, so it's all new to them and they love it a lot." "Charles Martin

 
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