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Clayton business owner to serve as town’s designated driver

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CLAYTON — Husband and wife team Daniel A. and Lauran B. Throop, Clayton, will be designated drivers for people in the Clayton area visiting local watering holes.

“This won’t be a ride to another bar or a ride from your house to the bar,” Mr. Throop said. “This is going to be a safe ride home for anyone who needs it.”

Mr. Throop said the couple hopes to launch a nonprofit, WWCL Inc., by May 10. The Throops donated a GMC Yukon XL truck to be renamed the Chug Wagon to offer rides to people in the Clayton area. “We want to get the business off the ground in Clayton,” Mr. Throop said. “Maybe later in the summer we can expand to Alexandria Bay and Wellesley Island.”

He wants to organize the ride-home program because Clayton doesn’t have a reliable taxi service.

“I talked to a lot of people and the answer I got was none; there is no way to get home unless you have a designated driver or they just decide to drive,” Mr. Throop said. The Throops plan to tell local restaurants and bars that they can give his contact information to anyone who might need a ride.

For the past three weeks the Throops have pursued nonprofit status, arranging car insurance, building a website and a Facebook page for the Chug Wagon and trying to rally volunteers. Mr. Throop said all drivers must be over age 21 and have a clean driving and criminal record. “We are hoping to get a group of 30 couples to each take on one day a month to provide the rides,” he said.

The truck can hold seven passengers. Mr. Throop wants to have one male and one female driver at all times to mitigate passenger discomfort. He said having two drivers allows one person to drive while the other is free to answer phone calls for other rides.

The ride is free, but donations will be accepted to keep up with maintenance. Riders can pay with cash, credit cards or debit cards. He said the couple hopes to solicit donations on the website once it’s complete.

For more information about the Chug Wagon or to inquire about volunteering, email Mr. Throop at DanThroop@gmail.com.

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