Thanks for St. Patick’s Day rides

Miller has sponsored free rides with Metro Transit for 11 years.

St. Patrick’s Day rivals any other occasion in terms of alcohol consumption. Every year, even though only about 20 percent of the country claims Irish decent, hordes of people swarm downtown Minneapolis, Dinkytown and other areas that house drinking establishments. They drink green beer, wear green hats and usually sport more than one blinking green light.

Naturally, this event is like Christmas for alcohol producers, retailers and the rest. They certainly see a spike in revenue from the excess consumption that occurs on St. Patrick’s Day.

Most companies take it for what it is. They might spend extra advertising dollars in the preceding week before St. Patrick’s Day, or they might line up promotional contests or posters at bars around the city. But most won’t help ensure that everyone has a safe St. Patrick’s Day.

That’s why we’d like to applaud Miller for sponsoring free rides with Metro Transit on St. Patrick’s Day. Each year since 1997, they’ve been offering free rides on almost all of Metro Transit’s routes to help people make better decisions. According to their Web site, since they started the program, they’ve offered more than 535,000 free rides. They estimate that this has since saved more than 107,100 car trips in the Twin Cities.

Certainly, it’s not entirely public service for Miller. The program is a good public relations move for them. It earns them the goodwill of plenty of their consumers by doing public service. The fare boxes on each of the buses are covered in a green sleeve that promotes the Miller brewing company.

Even though this isn’t entirely without benefit for Miller, it’s still worth commending. The cynics will try to make it into something else – say that it’s nothing more than a shameless promotion. Even if so, it still offers free rides to everyone in the Metro. It helps people avoid the roads on a day when a lot of people are drinking. Even if you’re a cynic, it’s hard to argue with that.