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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “SafeRide shuttles 50,000 on campus”

    After reaching the 50,000-ride mark for the first time last Wednesday, SafeRide organizers are considering starting an online reservation system this summer to resolve problems with long wait times.

    The record-breaking figure significantly surpassed last year’s high of 39,841 that was broken earlier this year.

    At the start of the academic year, officials anticipated SafeRide transporting between 40,000 and 45,000 passengers over the course of the year. These estimations were based on the average annual growth rate of 3,000 and 5,000 rides over the past three years.

    But the projection numbers increased last semester, when SafeRide reported giving more than 400 rides a night.

    Joshua Wright, Associated Students of the University of Arizona SafeRide director, said he thinks a variety of factors, including increased student population, a bigger presence and involvement of SafeRide on campus and higher SafeRide efficiency have all contributed to the leap in usage.

    “”Every year we’ve tried to increase our marketing and visibility,”” Wright said.

    Wright said someone suggested implementing an online resource where students could book reservations, a system which would address concerns that passengers voiced in a recent survey about busy phone lines and long wait times.

    Wright said he is not sure whether increasing fleet size or adding employees will be necessary to accommodate the 450 passengers every night because the level of use will probably stabilize.

    SafeRide is striving to focus more on students who legitimately need a safe way to get home rather than those who simply use the service because it is convenient. In the past, implementing rules like a two-passenger-per-pickup cap and refusing to drop passengers off at parties have helped in getting closer to this goal, Wright said.

    SafeRide prides itself on its average response time of about 5 minutes, 44 seconds, which it has maintained despite a growth of more than 10,000 passengers in the last year, according to a news release.

    Mary Whitney Wheaton, a psychology sophomore, said she thinks SafeRide is important because it shows that the UA community actually makes a visible effort to protect its members.

    “”It’s good for the UA to have because it shows that they’re conscious about student safety on campus,”” Wheaton said.

    Wheaton said she used SafeRide frequently during her freshman year and was thankful she had the option.

    “”I always took SafeRide from my dorm to my sorority house last year and it saved me a lot of nights where I would have walked,”” Wheaton said. “”I definitely am more comfortable taking SafeRide.””

    Any UA affiliated person can take SafeRide free from 6:30 p.m. until 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6:30 p.m. until 9:45 p.m. on Friday. The service can be reached at 621-SAFE.

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