A Berks County-based driving service is making life easier for local tavern owners and their patrons.
StearClear is a designated-driver business that gets both the impaired driver and the driver's car home.
CEO Dan Glover said he started the company 15 months ago to eliminate the main reason people drink and drive.
"The number one reason people drink and drive is because they do not want to leave their car behind. We feel our service is solving that problem," he said.
It's also solving a problem for bar owners, according to Dave Shultz, president of the York Tavern Association and treasurer of the Pennsylvania Tavern Association.
The fear of illegally driving under the influence caused a decline in his late-night bar business, he said.
"Late-night business had fallen off so drastically we changed our format to cater to the dinner crowd," Shultz said.
In October, Tailgaters Grille & Drafthouse at 204 St. Charles Way was changed to Stone Grille & Taphouse.
Shultz then heard about a successful driver service in Reading and is now introducing it to York County.
How it works: StearClear can be requested through a phone call or a few taps on an app.
When a customer requests a ride, two drivers are dispatched to provide assistance — one to drive the customer home in the customer's car and another driver who follows behind to bring back the designated driver.
StearClear also works for people who undergo outpatient procedures and then realize they can't drive themselves home, Glover said.
It's a mileage-based service that charges fares similar to a taxi ride, he said.
An average ride may cost $30, Glover said.
"That's significantly cheaper than an DUI or cab ride both ways," he said.
It's a new service Yorkers are starting to utilize.
"We probably average 15 to 20 rides a night, with a higher volume on the weekend. Demand continues to increase weekend by weekend," Glover said.
That demand is driving a need for more drivers, he said.
StearClear currently employs 20 drivers in the York area.
"It's a very professional service. Reading tavern owners have been very happy, and we're happy with it in York," Shultz said.
Reaction: The co-owner of Fat Daddy's agreed.
"Some of our customers have used it and been very happy with it," said Matt Landis, an owner of the nightclub at 2510 E. Market St. in Springettsbury Township.
Landis also serves on the board of the York Tavern Association and said the service is needed in York.
"People won't call cabs or ride home with someone else because they want their car with them the next day to go to work or somewhere else. They want their car safe with them," he said.
The app-based technology also makes it easier to order the StearClear service, and it's a "no-brainer when you consider safety and the thousands spent on a DUI," Landis said.
"I've been in business for more than 15 years and know the after-hours transportation in York is definitely lacking," he said. "StearClear definitely helps give more options to our patrons and keeps people safe."
—Reach Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.