The number of people taking advantage of Operate Red Nose over the holiday season dipped this year.
Volunteers for the safe-ride home service did 436 pickups over nine nights in December, including New Year's Eve, raising $16,176 for KidSport Tri-Cities. The numbers are down from last year, when 543 rides were given, raising a total of $21,159.
"I remember last year, we had some office parties with some pretty nice donations, so that makes a difference, too," said Chris Wilson, executive director of KidSport Tri-Cities and ORN organizer.
He added that this has been a transition year for the volunteers, with new people taking on different roles. As a result, Wilson said some of the promotion and volunteer recruitment efforts were not as vigorous as in previous campaigns. And despite the expected launch of ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft, in B.C. this year, Wilson said he is confident that ORN can get back to its 2018 numbers.
He said while the new apps may have an impact, Operation Red Nose already operates in many cities where ride-hailing is present.
"It hasn't seemed to have much of an impact," he said, noting, "Next year, we should be back to 2018 levels."
This is the 24th road safety campaign for Operation Red Nose, with the safe ride service deployed in 100 Canadian communities over the Christmas season. KidSport Tri-Cities, whose main fundraisers are ORN and its bi-annual used sporting goods sales, provides financial assistance for families in need to pay for registration fees and equipment so children can participate in sports.