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Drunk as a skunk? Dial PHD
- Mumbai launches taxi service for sloshed party animals

Mumbai, Dec. 22: Want to get sloshed this New Year night? Get a PHD.

Or, Party Hard Drivers ó if you were trying to connect what academic research had to do with year-end revelries.

Just two weeks old, the chauffeur service, specially designed for those too drunk to drive, will ferry passengers to and from their homes or anywhere they like after wild nights on the bottle.

All you have to do is dial for a driver who will pick you up from your doorstep, drive you across town and drop you safely back home anytime between 10pm and 3am. The service costs Rs 500 a night and Rs 50 extra for every hour after 3.

“We are consumers ourselves. We have seen the hazards of drink-driving and thought of this to ensure that people don’t drink and drive,” says advertising professional Ankur Vaid, who along with Saurabh Shah and Mishal Raheja started the chauffeur service after a couple of friends had near-death experiences while driving drunk.

“The response is very heartening. People love the concept. We have about 25-30 bookings in a week.”

The three had been toying with the idea for some time before a police crackdown on drink-driving made up their mind.

Since the July crackdown, 10,000 people have been fined, while over 2,000 have spent time behind bars.

The PHD service, which employs around 100 drivers, trains the uniformed chauffeurs to deal with people who are drunk and wild.

The proprietors say they hire seasoned drivers with a “clean record” and only through reference. Every driver is apparently test-driven before being taken on. The service has also been registered with the city police.

“We have also got a good response from women. We find out if it’s an all girls’ night out and then, accordingly, choose the driver,” says Vaid.

The service offers several packages like Corporate Account, Sunday Brunch, Host Package and Party Animal Account.

While the first helps companies ensure the safety of employees by not allowing them to drink and drive home, under Sunday Brunch, clients can book a PHD driver a day in advance. The drivers are available between 11am and 4pm.

Under the Host Package, people can book cars to ensure their guests are dropped home after a high-voltage party. As for party animals, all they need to do is register with PHD.

“It’s a cool idea. You don’t even end up paying much. The money can easily be divided among friends who are going out together. I can tell you that my mother will surely feel a lot happier with me getting home in these cabs,” laughs 19-year-old Jayant Karyakar, a student. “She might even book the service for me.”

So next time you plan to live it up in Mumbai, all you need to do is log on to www.partyharddrivers.com and call up 65256521/22/25. And let your hair down.

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