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Council says ‘no’ to Big Red Ride Home

The Big Red Ride Home bus blew its proverbial engine during Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Austin City Council members voted not to fund the Big Red Ride, as it’s commonly known, with public funding, though they support the concept. The bus acted as a free ride home from local bars for a month starting last December.

“I just don’t see it happening due to (it being) a liability for the city,” said council member Steve King.

The bus was started by Derrick McCormick, who thought Austin could use a bus service after failing to get a cab from Riverland to Austin Municipal Airport at 2 a.m. last Halloween.

“The idea behind this is to fulfill an unserved need in the community,” McCormick said.

The bus ran a set route through the community on Wednesdays through Sundays for 30 days starting in mid-December while McCormick tried to convince local bars to fund the bus for about $29 a night from each bar. Though a few bars seemed interested in the arrangement, many bars either turned McCormick down or never got back to them.

Council members were concerned over reports of patrons bringing alcohol onto the bus, though they agreed the service could be helpful.

Police Chief Brian Krueger said Austin Police couldn’t support the bus due to the increasing chance of sex assaults and other crimes on the bus. An assault took place on the bus during its first weekend in operation.

“From a law enforcement perspective, we cannot endorse this,” he said.

Council members agreed, unanimously shooting the proposal down after McCormick said he hosted a Meet the Owner night on the bus and set up a beer keg for the event. It is legal for people to drink alcohol on a commercial vehicle.

The bus is listed on craigslist.com for $5,800.