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Monday, June 05, 2023

High cab prices on game days cause some to choose a different method of getting home

Mike Bentley wanted to take a cab to the first Gators game of the season so a DUI arrest would not ruin his night.

But when the UF graduate student learned that a ride with City Cab would cost ,20, he changed his mind.

Bentley is one student who decided to take his chances driving after drinking alcohol rather than pay the high cab fares on game days.

"It was going to be cheaper for me to drive to the game and find a spot rather than wait 30 minutes for the cab to get there," said Bentley who drove from his apartment to the stadium.

The drive to the stadium from his home at Camelot Apartments, at the corner of Southwest 34th Street and Southwest Second Avenue, is under two miles.

City Cab's fares are not usually so high. On any given day, the same ride would only cost ,8 or ,9.

"If the town's goal is to help keep people safe, then the fares need to be controlled," Bentley said. "But I suppose safety doesn't make much money."

Cab companies can charge a flat rate on game days as long as the fare is posted by the cab, according to the Gainesville Code of Ordinances.

A seasonal sale, promotional/sidewalk sale, parade, festival or home football game are all considered special events, according to the City of Gainesville's Web site.

Bestway Cab Company also raises fares. The two-mile ride Bentley needed would have cost at least ,8 on an average day. The same ride would have cost a flat rate of ,15 for two people three hours before and three hous after a game.

"Three hours before the game starts and three hours after the game ends, the cabs will have increased fares," said Paula Williams, an employee of Bestway Cab. "It's posted right on the window as you enter the cab."

Fans must weigh their options when deciding whether to pay the money or drive. Students should save money to pay for cabs on game day to avoid the temptation to drink and drive, said Jeff Holcomb of the University Police.

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"What's the cost of a life if you drive drunk?" he said. "It's a much more costly alternative than a cab fare."

Jared Sheffield, a UF alumnus who came from out of town, said he decided to stay the night at his fraternity house so he could walk to and from the game in order to skip the driving hassles altogether.

"When it comes down to it, many students convince themselves that they can make the two-mile drive and save themselves some cash," Sheffield said.

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