JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The Blue Plum Festival is three days of vendors, art, food, and lots to drink.
The festival is a busier time for bars and restaurants, and Friday night proved so at Numan's Sports Bar. Owner Dan Numan says, "We have a capacity of 326. We were at capacity by 8 p.m., and it was one-in and one-out basis."
But when Blue Plum goers decide to drink, there's an option to get home safely thanks to Holston Distributing Company. It's called the Bud Light Alert Cab. Bartenders have tickets behind the bar, or vouchers for discounted taxi rides. "They're little business card-like tickets. The bartender has to sign it, and the customer signs it, gives it to the taxi driver. They present it back to Holston for their money," Numan says.
Holy Taco manager Elizabeth Helbert wrote six vouchers Friday night. She says she looks at how people are talking or stumbling to decide if they need one.
Bud Light pays for $10 of cab fare, and the destination has to be to the person's home. The $10 card covers most places in the Johnson City limits, but the cardholder will be responsible for any fare that exceeds $10.
Walter Whaley, manager of W.W. Cab Company, says Blue Plum is a busy time for him too. "The telephone rang continuously from about 12 a.m. to about 4 a.m. It seemed like everybody in Johnson City wanted a cab at one time," he said.
His company drove eight people home Friday night through the Holston vouchers. He doesn't mind the crowds as long as people get home safely. "We look forward to Blue Plum because it brings a lot of business to the downtown, and it keeps our cabs rolling," he says.
Holston was unable to comment on the program, but when you're out enjoying Blue Plum Saturday and Sunday, the company wants you to get in a cab, not a car.