The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

66° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Safe Ride expansions look to improve service

    Safe Ride expansions look to improve service

    SafeRide is in the process of finalizing expansions to improve hold-service and pick-up efficiency.

    Over the past school year, SafeRide administrators have been diligently working toward improving services.

    The expansion will feature an updated hold-service in the hopes of reducing the time callers spend on hold. This service is scheduled to be up and running within the next month.

    Currently, SafeRide operators have to manage all five phone lines simultaneously, which involves manually switching every call over to hold while on the phone with a potential client. Callers are then left on the phone in silence, until the dispatcher is able to take their call.

    “”If you want a safe ride and you have somewhere to be and you get put on hold, you just end up walking, which basically defeats the whole purpose of SafeRide,”” said Brie Goin, a journalism sophomore. “”I usually hang up after about three or four minutes.””

    “”What most people don’t realize is that right now, we usually have one or two people in the office who are answering phones, dispatching and taking care of situations in the cars,”” said Brittany Smith, administrative director for SafeRide and a junior majoring in economics and math.

    The new hold-service hopes to alleviate the stress on both ends of the phone call.

    Smith said the service will expedite students’ time by providing them with the rules and information needed to give the operator while they wait.

    In addition to the hold-service, SafeRide purchased two new vehicles last semester – making the total number of cars seven, and one golf cart used in the warmer seasons – and are planning on buying more throughout the next few semesters.

    SafeRide normally operates on their budget, sanctioned by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. This year, however, the Parents as Family Association and the administration also provided funds for the program due to the increased focus on safety.

    With the introduction of new vehicles, SafeRide has started hiring students to fill the drivers’ seats.

    “”Last semester we hired over twenty new employees. Right now we have a little less than 30, but we are always hiring,”” Smith said.

    In order to work at SafeRide you must submit an application and schedule an interview with either Smith or Sommer Long, the assistant administrative director and a junior majoring in psychology and Spanish.

    After you are hired, you are required to participate in two-shift training-sessions, during which you obtain hands-on experience with a SafeRide veteran or administrative officer.

    Applicants this semester will also be required to attend a driver’s education course.

    There are three positions available to current applicants: dispatcher, who assigns drivers to clients over the radio; driver, who transports clients between locations; and telephone operator, who manages phone calls – a task that will be much easier with the installation of the hold-service.

    Since SafeRide is managed and employed exclusively by UA students, the organization is looking for any students interested in ensuring the safety of their peers.

    “”This is not an ordinary job. You get to socialize a lot and meet a lot of new people and create new relationships you wouldn’t ordinarily create,”” Long said. “”I really enjoy driving; it’s a good time to just relax, listen to music and talk to passengers. There’s nothing stressful about it.””

    SafeRide is based out of the ASUA offices in the Student Union Memorial Center. The service transports passengers within the boundaries of East Broadway Boulevard and East Grant Road to North Fourth Avenue and North Tucson Boulevard. With the exception of public parking lots, which are not in the confines of SafeRide insurance policies, SafeRide is a door-to-door service. It provides free rides to all college-affiliated persons, including students and faculty, with very few exceptions.

    It does not offer rides to individuals that are intoxicated or people wanting to be dropped off at party locations. Each driver has the right to refuse service at any given point in the ride. Also, SafeRide only transports three people or fewer.

    “”We are about safety, and we feel that groups of more than three are safe walking together at night, at least safer than groups of one or two. So we try to use our time and resources to pick up the people who are alone and make sure they get home safely,”” Smith said.

    If there is any reason why SafeRide can’t pick up a passenger, the caller is then referred to different safety transportation services, such as the University of Arizona Police Department or Safe Walk.

    SafeRide service hours are 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday.

    To contact SafeRide services, call 621-7233 during operating hours.

    SafeRide will be distributing pepper spray, magnets and information sheets for the Spring Club and Organization Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the UA mall today.

    Applications can be found online at saferide.asua.arizona.edu.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search