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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

ASUA’s Safe Ride service offers students a free ride

Gordon+Bates+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ASaferide+cars+are+lined+up+on+Second+Street+during+the+afternoon%2C+waiting+for+their+next+evening+of+work+on+Thursday%2C+Sept+8.+Students+are+questioning+if+Tucson+cab+companies%2C+or+Safe+Ride+offer+more+punctual%2C+readily+available+service.
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Saferide cars are lined up on Second Street during the afternoon, waiting for their next evening of work on Thursday, Sept 8. Students are questioning if Tucson cab companies, or Safe Ride offer more punctual, readily available service.

When students find themselves in need of a ride on campus at night, the ASUA Safe Ride service is often the answer. But despite popular belief, it is not a taxi service.

In 1994, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Safe Ride began hiring more than 30 volunteers to provide rides to students around campus at night as a way to promote safety. Today, Safe Ride has a fleet of twelve vehicles and a staff of more than 45 paid student employees. The service is provided by ASUA and is free for all students.

“I don’t have a car so I rely on it,” said Mayra Perez, a pre-nursing sophomore who uses Safe Ride three to four times a week. “They take you wherever you want and it’s easier than walking home.”

On average, it takes Safe Ride six minutes to respond to phone call of a passenger seeking a ride. On a typical night, they receive about 500 calls and, according to their website, in April of 2011, Safe Ride set a record of 1,019 passengers carried in one night.

“When we get their call, it takes about six to seven minutes to get there depending on the distance,” said Chris Wozny, Safe Ride student director. “It’s usually less then five minutes if you are on campus.”

One of the biggest problems Safe Ride faces is the jamming up of phone lines from potential passengers. Wozny explained operators can only hold 10 calls at a time and, as a result, some callers can be left waiting up to 15 minutes during a busy night.

“Thursdays, from what I have experienced, are the busiest days,” said Perez. “I’m on hold for the longest time and it’s usually over five minutes.”

Unlike a taxi service, Safe Ride is designed to only operate during night hours and covers a 1.5-mile radius around the UA campus. The boundaries include Broadway Boulevard, Country Club Road, Speedway Boulevard, and Stone Avenue. The service starts taking calls from their automated operating system at 6:30 p.m. and stops at 1 a.m. Sunday though Monday, and Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Safe Ride does not take calls on Saturdays because there is no school the next day. Safe Ride also has the right to refuse service to any intoxicated passengers.

“We are a part of academic services, we are not here to pick people up from the bar and take them home,” Wozny said. “We would not be able to get funding from the government if that was the case.”

Safe Ride does not compete with taxi services around the UA campus and often refers students to nearby businesses during non-working hours. Taxi services can be of use for students who intend to reach destinations outside of Safe Ride’s boundaries.

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