Operation Red Nose is gearing up for the season, ready to take its first passengers in Delta and Richmond starting Nov. 24.
This volunteer-run campaing against impaired driving provides motorists who have been drinking or who do not feel fit to drive their own vehicles with a free ride home — in their own cars.
This is the 16th year the national program has operated in Delta and Richmond, and last year it gave out 487 rides over nine nights.
“It’s a great program to assist people during the holiday season to provide safe rides home,” said DPD acting Supt. Kelly Young at the Richmond/Delta Operation Red Nose launch on Nov. 9.
Hosted by the Delta Gymnastics Society, Operation Red Nose is a partnership between ICBC, Delta Police and the Richmond RCMP.
This year, the service will be available on Nov. 24 and Nov. 25, Dec. 1 and 2, Dec. 8 and 9, Dec. 15 and 16 and on New Year’s Eve. On average, about 12 road teams of three will be on call each night from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. The rides are by donation, and the funds are given back to amateur sports and youth groups in the community.
Last year, the service had an average of 43 volunteers each night of the program — one of those was John Holmes, who has been volunteering with Operation Red Nose since it began.
“Not long after [I started volunteering], Nordel Way had one of [its] accidents,” he said. “Pictures in the newspapers, broken in half cars. It got me thinking, ‘Now I know why I’m doing Operation Red Nose.’
“And over the years, Nordel Way seems to have been a reminder, way too often, of why we’re doing it.”
Volunteers must be at least 19 years old and have a valid driver’s license. Volunteers can be part of a road team of three, or work behind the scenes answering phones.
Applications, which include a criminal record check form, are now available online at operationrednosedelta.com. Volunteers can simply print and fill it out, then take it along with their valid driver’s license to their local police detachment.