Local groups provide free rides in Blacksburg for St. Patrick's Day safety

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) One big concern every year on St. Patrick's Day is safety as most tend to hit local bars as part of their festivities.

There were green hats, green jewelry, and yes, even green beer!

It was everything typically associated with the Irish holiday.

But that green beer isn't the only thing people are drinking.

And with many Virginia Tech students traveling from off campus to get Downtown, the big question was, 'How are you getting home tonight?'

Virginia Tech Junior Matthew Reynolds answered, "Getting home tonight, I'm probably going to take my scooter, it's pretty efficient and it's free."

Fellow Junior Rachel Abbot said, "Blacksburg Transit, I actually worked there for almost a year, so I know the schedules and everything."

And Meaghan Sullivan said, "Either Uber or I heard there's some free DDs at the corner of Moe's tonight so maybe I'll hook up one of those, I don't know if it's legit or not."

In fact it is legit.

For the second year in a row Hooptie Ride is partnering with No Hokie Left behind to give free rides to anywhere within the Town of Blacksburg.

Following the turnout last year, the groups knew they'd need to offer this again.

Owner of Hooptie Ride Ken Jones explained, "There was definitely people that ended up using our service that said that they would have driven otherwise, so we felt like we made a difference."

He also said, "Obviously you don't want to see people out drinking and driving but No Hokie Left Behind, they're committed to helping people stay safe here in our community and we're just honored to be able to partner with them to help facilitate their goals."

The free rides were sponsored by local businesses and bars.

And Blacksburg Police was helping out because they said officers would much rather get people home safe than have to arrest them for DUI or public intoxication.

Jones and his driver who came up with the idea said last year there was only one DUI arrest in Blacksburg. And that was someone who walked passed them thinking it was fake.

With six vans out Friday night, including three dedicated at North Main Street and College Avenue until 3:00 am, they were hoping that number goes down to zero.