“Buzz Bus” starts locally to keeps highways safer

Ever gotten into a vehicle after a night on the town with someone a bit too tipsy to drive? Were you the too-tipsy driver? Did the fun night before suddenly end badly?

With the new “Buzz Bus,” drivers who want to have a drink or two at the bars in Sylva no longer have to take illegal and dangerous risks after the bar closes and the night is over. Instead, they can call Tim and Sam Crabtree to pick them up in their safe-ride-home van.

“Thousands of people are going out to the bars every week… and most are driving themselves,” said Tim Crabtree. “I thought it (the Buzz Bus service) was a good opportunity to provide a service and prevent DUIs.”

Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., Tim drives the Buzz Bus, a Dodge Caravan, around town to pick up bar hoppers, mostly Western Carolina students, for a safe and guaranteed ride back to campus, an apartment complex, or house. Currently, there is only one van and only Tim may drive. Already, there is talk of expansion.

“(The driver) has to be approved by the chief of police. So far, we’ve done pretty well… we have a Facebook page and put flyers out at the bars,” said Tim.

A new van should be available by early spring or even sooner. Harrah’s Casino has called asking about the service, maybe wanting to expand the Buzz Bus’s business a little more.

For a group of four or more, each person will be charged $4 to ride from Sylva to Cullowhee. The flat rate is $14, and if only one person wants a ride, they must pay the total. For two people, they would each pay $7. For shorter distances, like around Sylva, riders would pay only $12.

Some might think these prices are a little high, but Tim disagrees.

“Fourteen dollars is a heck of a lot cheaper than a DUI or taking someone’s life or your own…When you really start to think about it, it can be really scary,” said Tim.

Tim’s own life has been touched by the affects of driving too soon after drinking. Stephen Crabtree, Tim and Sam’s older brother, had a DUI during his young adult years. Right before the Buzz Bus was approved, a 19-year-old male in Franklin died in a car accident involving alcohol. Tim had been his daycare center counselor. Both experiences “hit home” for Tim and his family. Now, the Buzz Bus is here to make sure the highways are safer for everyone. 

If you personally want to use the Buzz Bus for your night around town, you can call Tim and Sam Crabtree at 828-400-4473.