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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Safe Ride serves more with less

Annie Marum  / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Safe Ride passengers ride with sophomore driver Michael Bowman on Monday, April 11. ASUAs Safe Ride broke a record Thursday night for the most passengers in one night. We had a total of 1,019 people, there was a lot going on to say the least, said Bowman.
Annie Marum
Annie Marum / Arizona Daily Wildcat Safe Ride passengers ride with sophomore driver Michael Bowman on Monday, April 11. ASUA’s Safe Ride broke a record Thursday night for the most passengers in one night. “We had a total of 1,019 people, there was a lot going on to say the least,” said Bowman.

Safe Ride is helping a record number of students, faculty and their guests get around the UA campus by providing them with free transportation during nighttime hours.

Safe Ride, a student-run organization sponsored by the UA, has provided free transportation around campus since 1982. According to data released by Safe Ride, they transported 90,911 students to their destinations during the 2008-2009 school year. Safe Ride transported 1,019 passengers to their destinations on April 7, an all-time record for an individual night.

“”I think it is an absolutely critical program on campus for encouraging students to use things on campus, be active, go to the library, become involved and know there’s a way they can feel safe and be safer,”” said Melissa Vito. vice president for student affairs.

Vito, who helps oversee the program, said students are more likely to participate in on-campus activities at night when knowing an option like Safe Ride will help them get to their destination safely.  

“”I think that they provide a valuable service for students,”” said Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Emily Fritze. “”It’s a perception of safety so that students feel safe when they are traveling around campus, particularly at night.””

Fritze said she is involved in putting together the overall budget for the program and aims to fund the program with the proper means to be successful, which she said is all the more important because more students are utilizing the program than ever before.

“”For next year, we have quite a bit of money coming in from student fees. We also put some of our (ASUA’s) budget into helping Safe Ride as much as possible,”” Fritze said. “”It’s a combination of student fees that are transferred from student services fees and also from our own budget.””

Safe Ride is requesting an additional $140,000 of funding for the next three school years, beginning in fall 2011, to accommodate its needs. Fritze said that the program suffered from a $10,000 budget cut, which has hindered some of Safe Ride’s plans for replacing aging vehicles and increasing the amount of student drivers to meet demand.

“”I know that they would like to purchase new vehicles to replace some aging ones and also hopefully increase the amount of student drivers so that they can serve more students,”” Fritze said. “”I think that’s where the pressures come into play as we continue forward.””

Despite the budget cuts, Fritze said the program is still able to execute its goal of providing safe transportation to any student that needs it.

“”They’ve been able to serve students just as well,”” Fritze said. “”We hope that we can give them as much as possible considering the demand, but they’ve done a great job in dealing with the cuts and being successful regardless.””

Fritze said that success is aided by Safe Ride’s visibility to new students. She said that Safe Ride is represented at every orientation session for new students, provides information on its program in residence halls and lets students know that they are here to help them.

“”Safe Ride does a great job of marketing itself,”” said Fritze. “”I think that the presence is there as soon as students set foot on campus and that hopefully it’s just becoming more used because … the word is spreading about the usefulness of this service.””

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