Source: Sherman Publications

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Saving lives one ride at a time

by CJ Carnacchio

August 31, 2011

Oxford resident Nick Christy, owner of Nick’s Shuttle Service, is making money by helping others and making the roads safer. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio.
A little too tipsy to drive home from your favorite local watering hole? Just call Nick Christy and he'll be glad to give you a ride.

The 40-year-old Oxford resident is the proud owner of Nick's Shuttle Service, a business that caters to responsible folks who don't wish their evening of imbibing to end with a trip to jail or worse, the morgue.

"We're trying to provide a safer community, first and foremost," said Christy, who started the business approximately five months ago. "We want to get some of these people off the road and save a life or two."

The service operates primarily in the Oxford/Orion area.

"Oxford uses me more so than Orion does. Most of my customers are in Oxford," Christy said.

People can either call for a ride home from the bar (or restaurant) or make an appointment to be driven to and from their destination.

"We encourage people to make appointments because we're getting so busy," Christy said. "I'm overwhelmed right now. I desperately need to get another vehicle because there's so many people that are using this type of service now."

Currently, the service has one van that seats up to seven people. Christy is working on obtaining an airport-style shuttle bus or a second van.

Nick's Shuttle Service charges $15 for those who call for a ride home from any Oxford/Orion bar or restaurant.

Round-trip rides cost $25. Nick's Shuttle Service will pickup a maximum of seven people and drive them to anywhere in Oxford or Orion for $15. If they want a ride home, that's an additional $10.

"It's very inexpensive," Christy said. "That cost is per ride, not per person."

Nick's Shuttle Service also offers one-way rides to the airport for $85 and round-trip rides to and from concerts and sporting events for $90.

So far, the response from the public has been positive.

"People love it," Christy said. "Most of my customers, once they use my service, they call me again. They think it's a great idea. One of my customers used me five times (in a week) when they had guests in from out of town. Some of the local business owners are starting to use me."

Christy indicated his service has given rides to "at least a couple hundred people" since it started.

"Lots of people in the community are really getting hip to it," he said. "It's a good thing . . . It's a simple idea that saves lives and lots of money."

Christy noted even the cops support his efforts. "The police have told me that I save them three hours for every person they don't have to book," he said. "It frees up our local police to take care of other matters."

"I call him my nightly superhero," said Oxford Village Police Sgt. Mike Solwold. "(He's) saving lives every night. Our drunk driving offenses have been sliced in half. He (offers) a phenomenal service. He's even offered free rides if somebody needs it . . . It turned out to be a wonderful service and I hope it continues."

Solwold is grateful to Christy for all the time his service is saving his officers.

"When we bring in a drunk driver and process him, it takes about three or four hours of our time," the sergeant explained. "If we have one or two officers on the road, that's going to tie that officer up for almost half their shift."

Christy is grateful to all the people who have helped him get his business up and running, from Ron Bostick, who bought new seats for his van, to Viktor Paljusaj, owner of the 24th Street Sports Tavern, who's allowed him to pass out cards and advertise in his downtown Oxford establishment.

Christy is employed by both men.

For about eight years, he's worked for the Bostick family as a limousine driver, security person and laborer.

On weekends, he works as a doorman at the 24th Street Sports Tavern.

He's even grateful to his son Alex Christy, a sixth-grader at Oxford Middle School.

"He helps clean the van," Christy noted.

To reach Nick's Shuttle Service, call (248) 760-6769.