It’s 6:30 on a Friday night and happy hours around town are winding down. SFR hops into a cab in South Capitol for a ride-along with Capital City Cab driver Robert Seigle. A former mechanical engineer who builds PCs in his spare time, Seigle has worked for Capital for eight years. He has been participating in the county’s Chauffeur and Designated Driver Program, or CADDy, since its inception June 15, 2007. The program offers reduced rates for cab fare 5:30 pm-2:30 am Friday and Saturday nights as well as selected holidays to lessen drunk driving (one or two people can go anywhere in the city for $5, three or more for $10, plus standard fare outside city limits; call 505-995-9528). Seigle says a few weeks ago he twice chauffeured Matt Damon, who was in New Mexico filming True Grit.
SFR: How many of your fares on weekend nights are CADDy rides?
A lot. I would say 90 percent.
With all the driving you do, do you notice drivers with a certain state’s license plate being worse than others?
The state really doesn’t matter. I see a lot of drunk people driving around. See this one-way here? I see a lot of people going the wrong way. With the CADDy program, we’re keeping a lot of people off the road. Since its inception, who knows how many lives we’ve saved.
Is there a major spot where you pick up people for CADDy rides?
The corner of W. San Francisco and Galisteo streets, where there are three bars: Matador, Milagro and Evangelo’s. You know it?
Yes, very well.
That’s a good place to wait and pick up people.
Anything crazy ever happen?
[Sideways look] I don’t really want to go there. It gets a little intense on Friday and Saturday nights, especially downtown in that one spot.
Do you ever use CADDy?
I’m always working Fridays and Saturdays, so I never have a chance to use it.
How do you think New Mexico could solve its drunk driving problem?
I don’t know if there’s a solution. You can’t close the bars, can’t keep people from drinking. I’d say more education. It’s a habit people get accustomed to, getting drunk and getting into their cars. They need to be made aware it’s lethal.
Driving so many drunk people home with the CADDy program, do you get skimped on tips?
It’s fifty-fifty. Some take advantage of it and don’t take care of the drivers. Others appreciate the
program and the company and the county, and absolutely compensate the driver for it.
[We pull up to The Lodge and a couple visiting from Texas and heading to the Bull Ring gets in. They’ve been drinking. Seigle tells them about the CADDy program and asks if they are interested
in participating; their ride will be approximately half price.]
Texan Man: I love it. As long as it’s legit, that’s all I care about. [Looks at this reporter’s notes] What language are you writing in?
English. [To Seigle:] Do you always tell your riders about the program?
Yes. I tell them because I think I’m doing a public service. Either that or they’re gonna drive their cars drunk.