Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Just Call a Cab

If FAU freshman James Komisarjevsky ever needs a ride home after a night of drinking, he’s got an easy solution: call a cab on his parents’ dime.

With a new debit card called University Cab Cash, getting a safe ride home after a night of drinking just got easier for FAU students, and parents are happily footing the bill.

Cab Cash works like a taxi gift card: all the student has to do is call the number on the back of the card after they’ve had too much to drink, and a taxi will come and pick them up. The ride home and tip are charged to the card, and no one has to hunt down cab fare at 4 a.m. All parents have to do is make sure there’s money in the account by going online.

“A lot of parents would buy these for their kids,” Komisarjevsky says. “My parents bought it for me because they didn’t want me driving drunk, or driving with someone who was drunk.”

Almost 40 percent of card users reload within the first six months, according to Cab Cash creator and Jupiter resident, Jason Willoughby.

Even though Komisarjevsky is only 18, he says that his parents would rather he be safe, and so they gave him the card.

“Who goes to college and doesn’t drink?” he adds.

“This is one of those things that you see and think, ‘why didn’t I come up with that?'” Martha Jones, parent of Florida State University student Morgan Jones, says. “If I sent my daughter $50 for cab fare, it would be gone on something else in less than a day.”

And that’s the logic behind the card’s success, according Willoughby, 25, who started Cab Cash after seeing a need for it when he was attending UCF.

When college kids are out drinking, they might not want to spend the money to get a taxi to take them home – but if they already have the Cab Cash card in their wallet, it makes the choice a lot easier, according to Willoughby.

FSU senior Morgan Jones, a history major, uses the Cab Cash card at least twice a week, and is even on a first-name basis with one of the cab drivers.

“I love it! My roommate and I both have Cab Cash cards,” Morgan says. “None of our friends have to drive, and we never have to worry about it.”

But for Morgan’s mother, this is more than just a piece of plastic – it’s peace of mind.

In 2003, her son Brett Jones, a science major at FSU, left Tallahassee and went home to South Carolina for Christmas. Brett went to a party and had a friend drive him home.

They were both drinking, and lost control of the car on a curvy South Carolina road. They were both killed instantly.

“People don’t realize that one little mistake and it’s all over,” Jones says. “You try and tell your kids this, but they think nothing will happen to them.”

After that, Jones was always worried about her daughter.

“This just seemed like a life-saver,” Jones says. “Any parent who went through what I went through would be happy to spend money on this.”

Jones is always sure to check the balance on her daughter’s Cab Cash card, and puts $50 on it every few months.

Cab Cash has a contract with Yellow Cab and American Cab, meaning students can get a cab, or even a black sedan if they wanted, anywhere in South Florida. Cab Cash has already had success at UCF and FSU, and hopes to go national soon.

“Parents are really thankful for the service; we get letters all the time,” Willoughby says. “We had one parent write us a poem. It was nice.”

But Cab Cash isn’t just for students who have been drinking. It can come in handy anytime, for students or their friends, if they need a taxi.

“This could be the best $50 that a parent or student could ever spend,” Willoughby says.

A crash course on Florida’s drinking and driving laws

DUI Defined: Having a blood alcohol level of .08 of above. “Impairment of normal facilities,” meaning you can’t walk in a straight line.

Community service: Mandatory 50 hours of community service or additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.

Probation: First conviction, total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed one year.

Imprisonment: Not more than six months. With a BAL of .20 or higher or minor in the vehicle, it may be up to nine months.

License revocation: Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum one year.

Fines: Not less than $250, or more than $500.

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws

Where to go get a Cab Cash card: www.universitycabcash.com(866) 408-3126

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