Readers of redbankgreen may recall our feature article of a year ago on four enterprising college students who started a summertime car service for the inebriated called the Wingmen.
Well, soon after that, the foursome childhood friends from Rumson starting getting pestered by a company in Texas with a similar name that claimed the guys were infringing its turf.
Now, school’s out, and the wingmen are back, but they’re operating under a new flag: The Driving Service.
“We just didn’t want the hassle” of a possible lawsuit, says Vince Falcetano, one of the founders.
The Driving Service is essentially a taxi service that dispatches two drivers to each call, one of them to drive the customer’s car back to his or her home. It covers a basic area from Long Branch to Middletown and west to Red Bank or so, but they’re flexible and will take you out of the area for a modest surcharge.
This year, though the price of gas has doubled, the impact on the cost of the service has risen just 25 percent, to a base $25. The four guys also offer “bar hopping” rides from one locale to the next, and will even make a stop for late-night munchies at the customer’s request for an additional $5.
It turns out there’s a market for this, as safety-conscious restaurant and bar clients who know their own limits keep calling for the service. Business, says, Falcetano, is booming this summer. And he and his partners are still enjoying the work, even though it can entail dealing with sloppy drunks in the predawn hours.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s a good summer job,” says Falcetano, a senior at Scranton University.
After our story ran last summer, the New Yorker did a ‘Talk of the Town’ piece on the service, complete with a priceless description of a soused female passenger who, trying to tell her driver where to go, told him to “make a left at the giant wooden tooth.” They also attracted notice from the Chronicle of Higher Education, local and national radio interviews, and various Internet news sites and blogs.
But ewe herded here first…
Write this info down and stick it in your wallet if there’s a chance you might have one too many this
summer: firstname.lastname@example.org, 732.407.1115.