A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
By Tim Young
Every day, many people get into their cars and drive drunk because they have no other way to get where they need to go, and they don’t want to leave their car behind. In 2006, 7,054 DUI arrests were made in Hillsborough County. That’s one out of every 67 people, ages 21 through 44. One company is hoping to eliminate that risk.
Zingo Tampa was founded by friends Jessica Carlson and Margeaux McCorvey in 2007. How does it work?
A person calls Zingo and tells them where he or she is. A fully-insured Zingo driver then shows up on a Di Blasi scooter. The Zingo driver takes the keys, puts the scooter in the trunk of the car and then drives the customer to wherever the partier needs to go. The Zingo driver then takes his or her scooter back.
The rides are priced differently. For a member, it is $10 per ride and $3 per mile, and for non-members, it’s $15 per ride and $3 per mile. And for birthdays, the ride is free.
Some may say that’s a little expensive, but according to DUI attorney Ed Schmoll, a DUI can cost up to $18,000. Hillsborough County is the No. 1 county in the state for DUI arrests, according to the Tampa Alcohol Coalition.
“Some friends and I saw a card for [Zingo] at a bar one night when we were out drinking, so we decided to try it just for fun. It actually ended up being a big help. I mean, it’s better than a cab because your car is home with you in the morning, and it’s definitely better than a DUI,” said Mark Perrett, a student at USF.
Zingo will be at many local drinking establishments around Tampa, depending on events and the day of the week.
“I really like it because your car gets brought back. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a way the next morning to get your car,” said Erin Collins, a Ybor patron.
Bars are also happy about this new service.
“It’s nice because cars aren’t left in the parking lots after hours, and we don’t have to deal with the complaints if they get towed. And I feel a little safer driving home at 4 a.m.,” said Todd Leverett, manager of the Coyote Ugly Saloon in Tampa.
Zingo runs Monday – Thursday 9 p.m. – 4 a.m., Friday 5 p.m. – 5 a.m. and Saturday 9 p.m. – 5 a.m. To contact Zingo, call 888-ZINGO-11 (946-4611).