Starting today, people looking for someone to drive their car after having one drink too many can now use the ibon machine at 7-Eleven convenience stores.
The service is now available at 4,800 7-Eleven stores nationwide.
To access the service, customers must click on the substitute driver service icon on an ibon machine and enter their cellphone number. Within 10 minutes, Taiwan Taxi Co will send a cab and along with a substitute driver to the convenience store where the customer has placed the request. The substitute driver will drive and park the person’s car at an agreed-upon location.
The basic charge is NT$1,000 for a travel distance within 10km. Taiwan Taxi will calculate the additional cost for travel distances exceeding 10km. For customers in the latter category, the substitute driver will explain the additional cost first and will only provide the service when the service charge is agreed upon.
In cases where a customer abuses the service or calls off a deal on several occasions, he or she will be placed on blacklist.
To encourage usage of the system, people who call upon the service from today until Aug. 30 will have a chance to win a NT$1,000 gift certificate at 7-Eleven stores, a voucher for a substitute driver service within 10km and other gifts.
The service is part of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication’s campaign to reduce drunk driving.
Statistics from the ministry’s Road Traffic Safety Committee showed that the number of drunk driving violations dropped from 705 in 2006 to 387 in 2008. However, it remains one of the main causes of traffic-related fatalities and injuries.
While some cab services are already providing substitute driver services, service quality has come under fire following a series of accidents.
Actor Lee Luo (李鑼), for example, was reported to be in a dispute with a substitute driver after the driver had a traffic accident while driving Lee’s car.
Meanwhile, several new government policies are scheduled to take effect on Thursday. Motor vehicles, including cars or motorcycles, will be required to have energy efficiency labels that clearly display annual gas consumption volume, energy efficiency levels and other information.