SafeRide service extended to summer


Sean Su/The Daily Northwestern

SafeRide officials announced that the service will pilot a summer program durin

Rebecca Savransky, Campus Editor

SafeRide will be launching a pilot program that will run during the summer starting June 19 in an effort to give students staying in Evanston more opportunities for safe transportation.

The pilot service will run on a reduced schedule tentatively ending on July 12 and will operate Thursday to Saturday, from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m, SafeRide coordinator Bernard Foster said.

“It’s a test for us because we’ve never done a summer service,” he said.

Foster said if the service is running well and there is enough interest, it will be extended to operate later into the summer.

“We’re willing to do that as long as we see a need and a use for it,” Foster said. “If there’s no demand or use or call for us to be doing it, its going to be hard to justify, but we’re more than willing to.”

After looking at the results of a survey distributed to gauge student interest for the summer SafeRide service, Foster said officials decided a pilot program would be beneficial to see if a real user base exists.

The questions on the survey were also used to decide which days and times students would most benefit from the service. Out of the individuals who answered the survey, nearly 50 percent said they would use SafeRide between Thursday and Saturday during the summer, Foster said.

Other than the reduced schedule, Foster said SafeRide will operate similarly to how it is run during the year.

“Its going to run basically the same,” Foster said. “The same rules will be enforced that we have now.”

Several current SafeRide employees volunteered to work over the summer, Foster said. He said in the past, when students asked about the implementation of a summer SafeRide service, one of the main problems he thought of included staffing issues. He said prior to confirming the service, he had to ensure necessary funds were available for the student payroll.

“This year, I was able to find out early enough that a good number of my students planned to stick around this summer, so it’s going to be staffed by all SafeRide employees,” Foster said. “It should be around 10 to 12 people which is more than enough to do what we’re going to do because of the TapRide app which allows me to have one dispatcher.”

He said there will likely be two to three drivers working each night due to a relatively small demand.

Medill sophomore Haley Hinkle, Associated Student Government director of transportation, said she thought the service would be a positive addition because a lot of students remain on campus during the summer.

“I think its important because we do need to acknowledge that we have students who are working and taking classes on campus during the summer, and we still want to be able to provide safety services and safety measures for them while they’re here,” she said.

Hinkle noted, however, due to the policy change which restricts rides between two off-campus locations, students staying off-campus will not be able to benefit from the program.

Foster said he is looking forward to the pilot program and hopes students will use the service.

“As long as I have students who are willing to work and help out the community and they’re fellow students, that’s great,” Foster said. “I think it’s a great thing and a great opportunity for students who are here to work and to try to utilize the service for their safety.”

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Twitter: @beccasavransky