Pub's offer of a free ride raises the bar

AFTER the Hotel Orange initiated its courtesy bus service on Friday and Saturday nights, speculation has arisen as to whether a NightRide service is necessary for Orange as a whole.

The Hotel Orange introduced the concept to ensure their patrons’ safety to and from the premises, and the service offers to pick up patrons from their homes, take them to the pub and drop them home again at the end of the night.

The service is free, and readily available. All people need to do is go on the Hotel Orange’s Facebook page and put in a request to be picked up.

Because of the service’s success, the Orange Liquor Accord (OLA) chairman Bill Kelly said the issue was pressing and would be discussed at the OLA’s upcoming annual general meeting.

“We have discussed the idea before as well,” Mr Kelly said.

“There were a few issues ... viability and public liability mainly. But we’ll discuss it again at our meeting on April 15. If anyone has an opinion the best way to express it would be via letter to make sure it’s bounced around the meeting.”

Orange has 10 pubs and bars in the central business district, along with a host of other licensed premises, and the availability of a bus to all of the premises would be difficult to guarantee.

Hotel Orange manager Kane Johnson said his establishment’s service had been an undeniable success, and said he thought the concept could transfer onto a larger scale.

“We’ve had plenty of interest from the uni kids and the general public,” Mr Johnson said.

“It’s been fairly successful. We have a strong stance against drink-driving and we want to make sure people minimise their chance of getting hurt while they’re out having a good time.

“We encourage everyone to use the service we’re providing. I think the idea of it [on a larger scale] is great. 

“It would take one headache away and most people would feel safer.”

After a recent violent incident on a Melbourne NightRider, conjecture has surrounded the concept.

However, violent incidents in Orange pubs and bars have reduced by 40 per cent in the last 12 months, and Hotel Orange owner Josh Meijer said his establishment hadn’t had  a violent incident in the past six months.

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