Designated driving in your own car

By Eva McEnrue

Two companies are offering a twist on the traditional cab ride home after a night out on the town.

Be My Designated Driver and Rent-A-Driver are designated driving companies that transport customers home in their own vehicles, eliminating the hassle of having to retrieve their cars in the morning.

BeMyDD provides a personal driver service in which drivers will arrive at a pickup location, drop off their own cars, get into a customer’s vehicle and transport the customer and his or her passengers wherever they want to go within a 50-mile radius of Lexington.

“It’s like being chauffeured around in a limousine, except you are in your own car,” said BeMyDD Customer Service Representative Aleksandra Lenovski.

The driver will wait inside the vehicle until the customer is ready to go home. Drivers are dressed in a shirt and tie, but will adjust their attire upon a customer’s request. The fee is $12.50 an hour with a 3-hour minimum required. Reservations should be made ahead of time.

The company started several months ago and has expanded to serve almost 20 cities across the nation. BeMyDD now operates in Lexington, Louisville and Northern Kentucky areas.

The service provides transportation for events such as airport transfers, medical care, weddings, corporate affairs and bar hopping.

“The experience is much more personal than a cab,” Lenovski said. “Customers are able to drink freely without having to worry about finding a driver to take them home later.”

RAD offers a pick-up service for people already out and in a need of a ride, but who do not want to leave their car at the bar.

“RAD serves anyone who drives a car and drinks,” said RAD part-owner Jeff Shepherd. “Our customers are generally young to middle- age professionals who have more to lose if they were to get a DUI.  We will pick up customers anywhere in Lexington. Just call and tell us where you are, what kind of car you drive and where we should meet you.”

Two drivers will arrive at the pickup location. One driver will drive the customer’s car home while the partner follows in the original car. Drivers wear yellow neon shirts so customers notice them when they arrive.

RAD is a local business created in September 2008 by Jeff Shepherd, Bane Shepherd and Kevin Bailey.

“We saw a need for a driving service that prevented anyone from getting behind the wheel when they should not be driving,” Shepherd said.

These businesses benefit customers in addition to receiving a safe ride home.

“Customers only have to use our service on their way home, versus having to pay a cab for both a trip to and a trip from the bar,” Shepherd said.

“You may wake up with a hangover,” Shepherd said, “but at least your car is parked in your garage.” RAD charges a $10 fee, plus $2 per mile. The company requires a $20 minimum. The company asks customers call 20 minutes before they need to be picked up.

BeMyDD also offers a pick-up service similar to RAD. The fee is $25, plus $2.95 for the first 10 miles and $1.50 for each additional mile. The company asks customers provide at least one-hour notice before they need to be picked up.