Brandonites will soon have another way to get home — along with their car — after a night out at the pub.
A local entrepreneur was given the go-ahead from Brandon City Council Monday night to start a home-based designated driver business.
"I believe this service … will make Brandon safer and provide a reliable alternative to driving under the influence of alcohol," Jeff Carey said. "I believe one of the main reasons people take the chance is that they want their vehicle at home at the end of the night."
Carey outlined his plans for the business to be called "Wheat City Designated Driver." The basis of the business is much like Operation Red Nose: clients are driven home in their own vehicle, and another vehicle follows behind to pick up the employee.
Carey, who has 13 years of experience in the taxi business in Brandon, has been working on the idea since October. He met with Brandon Area Planning District, as well as insurance representatives and determined it would be a feasible business in Brandon.
"Unlike taxi service, clients will arrive home in the comfort and familiarity of their own vehicle," he said.
While there are five taxi companies in Brandon, Carey is confident there is room in the market for this type of business.
"The population I’ll be going towards is the people that want their vehicles home, may not enjoy riding in a taxi, maybe they do drink and drive because they want their vehicle home, so I don’t think it’s the same customers," he said.
As for Operation Red Nose, Carey believes there will be enough business to go around during the Christmas season.
"I believe we’re not in competition with each other," he said. "You want to support a business, or you want to support a charity, you’re going to make your choice in your mind," he said.
Council approved the home-based business licence application unanimously. Councillors Jeff Fawcett (Assiniboine), Stephen Montague (Richmond) and Corey Roberts (Rosser) were not in attendance.
Coun. Jeff Harwood (University) said there is a "definite need" for this type of service in Brandon.
"I think it’s good to see someone taking the initiative and establishing another business in the city," Harwood said. "I wish him good luck."
Carey said if all goes well, the business should be up and running by the end of February.