Close to 3,000 people opted to hop on a bus using the National Drug Council’s Arrive Alive purple bus initiative on New Year’s Eve, keeping themselves and others safe on local roads.
The programme marked its 21st year in 2021 with a 36% increase in users, a feat Simon Miller, NDC prevention specialist, said is a welcomed statistic, as plans are in place to move Arrive Alive forward in 2022.
“It’s remarkable how the campaign has evolved from a designated driver focus to a fully comprehensive public safety mandate. Undoubtedly, there is a unified call to action, and because of this, our Cayman holiday season is commendable. As always, special thanks to Compass Media, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the many corporate supporters, and of course the community,” Miller said.
The Purple Ribbon Bus service, which is the mainstay of the programme, runs on 31 Dec. and is free to both residents and visitors between the hours of 9pm and 4am, with routes serving all districts on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.
New Year’s Eve saw a reprieve for local establishments as government changed its midnight hour restriction, or the Cinderella clause, to allow parties to continue past midnight.
The NDC and Compass Media staff held several promotions to raise awareness and increase purple ribbon pledges in the run-up to New Year’s Eve. -Photo: Z99
Last year, 3,700 people signed the purple ribbon pledge, which is a feature of the designated driver programme, and at the end of the programme period 2,942 riders used the bus service. A total of 100 businesses signed up for the programme and 14 sponsors threw their support behind the initiative.
In 2020, there were 2,162 riders and 87 restaurants and bars who participated – including in the Brac.
Miller said the plan for 2022 is to partner with social media talents and bring awareness to digital marketing of the campaign.
“Notably, we launched explainer videos and will be embarking on an app with live bus routes. More importantly, we are designing tools for evaluations so that we can tailor the campaign to the needs of our residents and visitors,” he said.
Compass Media’s head of sales, Cheryl Birch, lauded the increased participation by residents as she stressed the importance of the service.
“In 1994, Z99 introduced the Purple Ribbon Pledge which was originally influenced by MADD [Mother’s Against Drunk Driving]. Over the past few years, Z99 has been honoured to partner with NDC to support their Arrive Alive campaign. 2021 was the first year that Compass Media was involved and we are thrilled with how many Purple Ribbon Bus riders there were. This demonstrates the importance of this campaign,” she said.
Birch thanked NDC, sponsors, the RCIPS and “the countless other people and businesses that helped make this happen. We look forward to sharing this message in 2022 and know that together we can help keep our roads safe”.
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