With Uber in Durango, there’s really no excuse anymore

by DGO Web Administrator

With Uber finally trickling down from the bigger cities to our little hamlet, I think about all the times that I’ve cabbed it home or taken the Buzz Bus or walked a few miles to avoid driving or sleeping in a stranger’s house. In the small town we’re in it’s a lot less likely, but it does happen, and when it does, it’s often no less exciting.

The first time I rode in a cab it was through the crazy streets of Chang Mai, Thailand, in a tuk tuk, a three-wheeled motorized vehicle and the drivers have very little regard for anything but the fare. If you’ve ever ridden in one, you know what I mean. The closest I’ve come to losing my lunch or converting to the same religion as my driver was in the back of a tuk tuk, and the only thing even close to that was a taxi in Rome (but because that was in a modern automobile, it’s really not even close).

The first few times I got a ride while living in Durango it was the Buzz Bus. I moved here during the holiday season and it was packed in every bar in town every night. I think I rode the Buzz Bus more times in that first month than I have since. I haven’t ridden in a while because I live downtown now and choose not to chase any party or person that requires me to ride in a vehicle. But then, and I’m sure now, there were nights on the Buzz Bus where people were passing bowls around, couples getting down and just general debauchery. Though I’ve only met her when completely intoxicated, and I don’t even know if she is still the primary driver, but Kelly Toliver, the woman who’s driven the Buzz Bus most of its existence, is a goddamn saint.

The praises for Uber are many, mostly that it’s cheaper, more convenient and more reliable than regular cabs, but that doesn’t mean that it can still be a crazy adventure. Most of my rides with Uber or Lyft have been clean, calm and uneventful, but when bars get out in a big city, it’s a cutthroat do-or-die experience no matter what system is in place to get the drunken masses home. One of the last times I was in Denver, a friend and I closed down a small bar in the Highland neighborhood and had to get to Capitol Hill. We requested an Uber, but it looked like a 20-minute wait, and we figured we could make most of the walk before they picked us up. So we walked. Around halfway, a van pulled up and we, being blasted drunk, just climbed in assuming it was our Uber. After riding a few blocks, we figured out it was definitely not our Uber, nor a cab of any kind. Maybe it was the five-gallon bucket a guy was sitting on in the console area of the van, or maybe it was the driver asking us for cash, but in the end, we got where we needed to go without driving ourselves.

And that’s the most important part: We didn’t drink and drive. I normally don’t preach, but I’ve had too many friends drink and drive, too many friends get DUIs and too much of it just seems like water under the bridge for them. Luckily and thankfully, no one I know has been killed or killed someone, but it seems inevitable. And guys, it’s not OK. Do anything you can to keep yourself or your friends from drinking and driving. Be a grown-ass adult and pay for a cab. Download and use Uber. Walk your own ass home. But please don’t be a complete dipshit. And maybe that can be the biggest praise for Uber: It makes it really easy to not be a complete dipshit.

Robert Alan Wendeborn puts the bubbles in the beer at Ska Brewing Co. His first book of poetry, The Blank Target, was published this past spring by The Lettered Streets Press and is available at Maria’s Bookshop. [email protected]

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