Injury Lawyer Pays Your Cab Bill on New Year’s Eve

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William Berg said he understands that the reputation of an injury lawyer, which he happens to be, is probably as good as that of a used car salesperson or a politician.

“It’s not a great image,” said Berg, who works out of his office in Alameda.

Solution? Free cab rides on holidays that encourage drinking, including tonight. Riders too drunk to drive can call Luxor Cabs at (415) 282-4141 and tell them that up to $35 of the ride is on Berg Injury Lawyers.

The gesture makes Berg and his office one of the few personal injury outfits that receives a stream of thank you e-mails, calls and cards from people who have taken up his offer.

“I’ve never gotten a bad response,” he said. “It has been 100 percent positive.”

This is the sixth year Berg has paid for cab rides for Bay Area partyers, and the third New Year’s Eve in the city. The reason behind it — besides good PR — is that Berg has seen firsthand the damage drunk drivers can cause.

As a result, Luxor’s 215 cabs will be roaming the city to drop you off at home and only home — no bar-hopping or picking up prostitutes. Berg will pay up to $35 within city limits; the passenger picks up the rest of the cab tab.

The only other limitation is that no masks are allowed in the cab. This ensures driver safety, according to Charles Rathbone, assistant manager at Luxor Cabs.

Riders are also asked to warn the driver if they are going to throw up. If they don’t, the driver can legally charge the passenger for cleaning the car. This rarely happens, according to Rathbone, because passengers are good about warning cabbies.

Rathbone said Luxor has gone to every nook and cranny of the city to pick up passengers from all kinds of bars, including Richmond’s Irish pubs and Valencia’s hipster clubs.

The service has grown in popularity over the years. When Berg began offering it in the East Bay, the office gave somewhere between 200 to 300 rides. Last year, more than 450 riders took up the offer, according to Abbey Smith, the program’s public relations manager.

This year, Smith said, they are likely to reach a total of 6,000 rides for the six years of the service in Sacramento, the East Bay and San Francisco.

Free rides are available from 10 p.m. tonight until 4 a.m. tomorrow. Passengers have to call Luxor Cab at (415) 282-4141 in San Francisco, (800) 281-4488 in the East Bay or (916) 444-2222 in Sacramento. Tell them the ride is on Berg Injury Lawyers.

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