Firing Squad: Unsafe Ride (Forum)

Liz Coffin-Karlin

I love SafeRide. When they pick me up I’m thrilled to escape the cold into the warm interior, greeted by the almost always cheerful drivers.

Notice the phrase, “when they pick me up.”

Last week I called Saferide five times. I was put on hold for more than 15 minutes, told at 1:20 a.m. there were no cars available (SafeRide runs until 2:30) and stuck for an hour the one time I successfully booked a ride.

These occurrences do seem to be increasing in frequency, and I have been forced on occasion to walk home alone from the library at closing time. Until last week I chalked it up to the fact that most students do not want to drive SafeRide cars all weekend late into the night.

Then I read in The Weekly that although SafeRide coordinator Jerry Bauer has received about 20 applications for new drivers, he is “very picky” and “several applicants have been turned away with no real explanation.”

Bauer turns away students willing and able to take on a demanding job while students going off-campus walk home at 2 a.m. His decisions are thoughtless, irresponsible and dangerous.

SafeRide admits there is a scarcity of hired drivers. Students have certainly noticed that it is increasingly hard to get a ride. And I’m terrified no one will bother to address this problem until someone who SafeRide refuses to pick up is attacked or injured.

One of my Norshore cab drivers told me he was once driving down Ridge Avenue and heard a girl screaming. He followed the screams and found a man attacking and trying to sexually assault the screaming woman. He scared off the attacker and took the girl to the hospital. He told me that if he ever caught me walking on Ridge drunk he would beat me up himself for my carelessness.

Obviously SafeRide should not hire anyone who is not qualified. But at the same time, no one should have to walk home under dangerous conditions. Jerry – from me, do something about it.

– Liz Coffin-Karlin

Assistant Forum editor