Just in time for Culture of Care week and Little 500 weekend, IU Student Association has launched the SafeRide program, a service which provides transportation to students in near-emergency situations.
A pilot program began last week to test if students wanted or would use the service. It will be evaluated during finals week and will likely continue through the summer before being expanded into a full-scale program.
Kyle Straub, outgoing IUSA student body president, said the program is similar to the Safety Escort Service. Students can call SafeRide for safe transportation home.
However, unlike the Safety Escort Service, SafeRide drivers will pick up students who are intoxicated. Drivers will also take passengers to and from locations off campus as long as the second location is the student’s University-registered address.
The hours are more extensive, as well. SafeRide will run from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. every night of the week, unlike Safety Escort, which only operates until midnight on weekends.
Patrick Courtney, who worked with other members of the IUSA Movement administration to implement the SafeRide program, said they are expecting a slight increase in usage during Little 500 Week.
He also expects an increase in usage as more students learn about the program and said IUSA is working to raise awareness of the service.
If the program is successful, Straub said, funds may be allocated from Safety Escort to SafeRide so SafeRide can extend its hours until 4 a.m.
Courtney said they will evaluate the program by looking at the hours and days students use SafeRide most often — for example, if no one calls before 9:30 p.m. during the pilot program, the full-scale program may not include hours before 9:30 p.m.
Each student is limited to three rides per semester to keep people from abusing the program. Up to two passengers can ride in each car, as long as at least one is an IU student. Straub emphasized it is not meant to be a taxi service.
“It’s meant to provide a service to someone who’s exhausted their other options,” he said.
Courtney said SafeRide is based on similar programs at other Big Ten schools such as the University of Minnesota and the University of Nebraska.
“We knew we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel if we didn’t have to,” he said.
He said the Safety Escort service and its employees were also helpful in improving the program.
Straub suggested that students who cannot find another ride home or feel uncomfortable where they are should call SafeRide.
“We want to provide students with an option,” he said. “Make sure you know how you’re going to get home when you go out.”