No DD, no problem. Designated driver companies at your service

Let me set the scene:

At a restaurant with some of my teachers late night.  We are eating and drinking beer.  One teacher drove us to the restaurant so he can’t really drink since he needs to drive home.  But we (Micah and me) really want to drink with him since alcohol is a great “social lubricant” (i.e. it turns non-English speaking Korean teachers by day, into very vocal English speakers by night).

Q: What to do?

A: Drink!  And then when you are ready to go home, call up one of Korea’s many “designated driver” agencies. 

It’s a pretty cool concept and I had never heard of it before.  However, a quick Google search showed me that similar services already exist back in the U.S. (but very very few companies do this – and it’s only available in just a small handful of big U.S. cities.  Oh and it’s WAY cheaper in Korea). 


Here’s how it works:

-Call designated driver company and tell them where you are located (hopefully your car is nearby too)

-They send a driver out to your location (for my teacher it took only 10 min).  You give him/her your car keys and you both hop into your car.  And another person from the agency follows you in their own car.

-Driver drives you home. 

-You pay driver 10,000 won (or about $8.50 US).

-Driver hops into the company car.

-You avoid any mishaps (accidents, DUI, losing your car, etc.)

Side note: My teacher did tell me that this can be somewhat dangerous, especially if you are a female and alone.  And the driver’s aren’t necessarily insured.  So, she didn’t really know what would happen/who would pay if the driver got into some sort of accident while driving your car.

Overall, I do think it’s a pretty cool concept (no more having to take turns being the DD).  I’m not sure how these types of companies are doing in the U.S.  But I checked out some of their websites and it’s expensive!  (Yeah, yeah – not as expensive as a DUI).  But not only is there a high flat rate (I saw one at $25), but then there is a per mile charge ($1.50-$2)Yikes! 

Apparently one downside of this service…massive SPAM to your cell phone(since the company has your phone number now).

Since we don’t drive in Korea (and I highly don’t recommend it for 99% of foreigners), it’s not something we’ll be able to try out on our own – but maybe someone else out there has tried it out.

Here’s to safe and responsible drinking! 🙂


8 Responses to “No DD, no problem. Designated driver companies at your service”

  1. 1 Tera June 10, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Perhaps you can use some of my amazing technical skills (ie internet browsing skills :-):

    To adjust your browser (easiest fix), click on ‘Tools > Internet Options’ in the top menu bar in the upper left corner of the browser window. Within the Internet Options window, select the ‘Advanced’ tab at the top. Scroll down to the ‘security’ set of checkboxes and uncheck the box titled ‘Use SSL 3.0’. This process takes less than a minute.

    If it makes you feel better, you are not alone!!

  2. 2 Tera June 10, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    LOL!! I commented on the wrong post…so much for my amazing computer skills!!

  3. 3 muchadoaboutlisa June 10, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    You nerd! Hahah!! I’ll try this…but can’t right now since my work computer is all in Korean.

    I’ll let you know if it works!

    P.S. I have searched online for solutions and most people haven’t found a way around it. I’ll be shocked (in a good way) if you have figured it out.

  4. 4 Joshua June 12, 2010 at 1:01 am

    This does seem like a great idea – I wonder if one part that makes it so expensive in the US is the simple fact that we have longer distances to travel in most cases, especially in cities like Houston, which by landmass is just GIANT.

    This is one reason I think Americans should move toward more public transportation – and why I loved being in New York City for a few summers. Now that I sound like an alcoholic, I’ll move on 🙂

    And while we’re commenting on other posts :), I’ll go ahead and ask if you’ve tried any US proxies – or even other Korean proxies? I have conjured up a plan and tested it here in the States – and I hope to have in Taiwan.

  5. 5 muchadoaboutlisa June 12, 2010 at 2:12 am

    I think you are right about the expense/distance ratio. In big cities, most people will just walk, use public transport, taxi or a combo of the three. Besides…who wants to pay for parking!?

    Korea has excellent public transport (at least in the big cities). It’s really easy to get around. unfortunately, when we move back to Seattle – the public transport is pretty poor. For being such an urban, metro city – it’s heavily car dependent. It will be an interesting (and unappealing) transition for us to go from carless to relying on cars again.

    As for proxies…I did try some roundabout way to have a “disguised” IP address – so I could hook into US sites. But I didn’t quite get it figured out. Instead, there are a MASSIVE amount of easy to use sites that stream almost any US tv show (and of course there are torrents – wink, wink). We haven’t had any issues missing any of our fave shows.

    BTW – checked out your site and am VERY VERY impressed by your amazing photog skills. Awesome pictures. Good luck with your move to Taiwan!

  6. 6 Joshua June 12, 2010 at 2:42 am

    The only problem with ginormous cities like Houston when it comes to that taxi thing is that 1.) no public transportation (everyone here seems to be afraid of it!); and 2.) cabs are insanely expensive if you live on the outer parts of the city like I do.

    Thanks for seeing the site! I’m glad to have my summer off to take pictures, so when I get to Taiwan I won’t be fumbling around trying to figure out how to get the most out of my new DSLR 🙂

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