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App to find a designated driver comes to FGCU

Drunk driving is never something that should be risked. Any level of alcohol in the blood impairs your ability to drive well. As spring break is on its way, students will begin to make plans with friends. Most will be drinking. On nights such as these, it is hard to fi nd a sober friend to give you a ride home, and calling an adult is often out of the question. So what is the solution?

E-hailing is available through NexTaxi. This is a service that allows students to order a cab through their smartphone devices. By simply searching “NexTaxi” in the App Store, students can download a free and reliable taxi-hailing app.

NexTaxi works with a Fort Myers fl eet called BlueBird, which claims to have the lowest taxi prices in the area. The connection NexTaxi creates with fl eets allows students to have a safe experience. Student Samuel Cole wishes he knew about the NexTaxi app earlier. Cole does not have a car and occasionally relies on friends to drive him around. Over winter break, Cole and some friends were driving home from a club. Everyone, including the driver, was drunk.

“The experience was really unnerving. She almost drove off the road twice,” Cole said. Cole said that the NexTaxi app would have been useful in the situation.

Steven Juliver, the CEO of NexTaxi, hopes to assist people nationwide. “Our market is anyone who needs a taxi,” Juliver said.

After hailing the cab through a smartphone, students can choose a method of payment. Traditionally, a student can pay with cash or credit card after arriving at his or her destination. But there is an even simpler solution — prepayment is available through the smartphone as well. Worried parents can set up an account through the NexTaxi app, provide credit card information and a taxi will not only be paid for but be made available for their student. A few universities around the nation have integrated the use of students’ ID cards. Instead of swiping a credit card, students can use the money on their IDs to pay for the taxi service. Florida Gulf Coast University has not done this yet.

“This service is great for students because it is an opportunity that is not only available at school but when they travel as well,” Juliver said.

Juliver said the company has grown since the launch of the app. About 10,000 taxis were available for e-hailing in July 2013, and almost a thousand more taxis have been added since. This service is not only a prevention for drunk driving but also a reliable way to get around town. Students without cars such as Cole can now rely on NexTaxi to help them arrive at their destinations safely.

Photo courtesy of Shayna Chapel

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