Who would have thought that the hazard of drink driving could provide for a business opportunity for someone? Well, that’s exactly what it has done for Nikhil Saigal and Shiven Madan, two Delhi University graduates in their early 20s. They run a chauffeur-on-hire-service called ‘Home Safe’, which sends a driver to drop you home — in your car — if you’ve had a drink too many.
“Every time we would go to a party and get drunk, Shiven had to chauffeur us all back because he is a teetotaler,” says Nikhil. “This got us thinking, that there has to be a way where people can enjoy their booze and still not be a menace on the roads by drinking and driving.”
The duo is not just involved in this for commercial reasons but is also working towards creating awareness. “We got to bars and pubs and educate the managers about facilities they can avail if a customer is too drunk to drive. We also use pamphlets and posters to spread the message,” says Nikhil.
They also plan to run a campaign with the Delhi Police against drink driving, before the Commonwealth Games. Most of their clients fall between the ages of 22-25. “Not all are rash. The young clientele shows that there are many who are responsible enough to not drink and drive.
We get the maximum calls during New Years, weekends, marriage seasons. “We need an hour’s notice if you want a driver (they can be called at 41051010, 41052020).” But there are occupational hazards: “We’ve had people who avail the facility, but are too drunk to realise where they are going. Once, a guy ended up keeping the driver till the evening after he was dropped. When it came to payment, he said that he was too drunk to know that he’d kept the driver that long!”
As told to Namya Sinha