A.S. researches Triton Taxi expansion to TJ

Representatives from the A.S. Services and Enterprises staff and the UCSD Student Safety Awareness Program took a field trip to the U.S.-Mexican border last week to evaluate a possible expansion of the Triton Taxi program to include one-way service from the border.

The group visited both sides of the border to assess surroundings on a typical Friday evening and to determine possible pickup locations for Triton Taxi.

Two proposals have been slated as a result of the trip. Both models propose expanding to include service from the border on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights that would allow UCSD students a free and safe ride home, according to Colin Parent, A.S. commissioner of services and enterprises.

“”We’re trying to guarantee a safe way for students to get home if their planned ride falls through or they find themselves in an unsafe or uncomfortable situation,”” Parent said.

The first model proposed would include pickup from the Old Town Transit Center.

The second model, which is preferred by the A.S. Services and Enterprises staff, would include a more direct pickup location. Students would be able to walk to the Jack in the Box restaurant on East San Ysidro Boulevard, where they could use public phones to call Triton Taxi and wait inside for the van to arrive.

Jack in the Box is preferred because it is open 24 hours a day, well-lighted and near officers on patrol, Parent said.

Parent said the program would not encourage underage drinking, because the proposal only allows a one-way ride, thus discouraging students from relying exclusively on the service.

“”Part of the reason we structured the program the way we did is to make sure that intelligent people realize that it’s not a program that encourages underage drinking, but rather a program that promotes student safety,”” Parent said.

Student Safety Awareness Program Director Nancy Wahlig said that Triton Taxi has prevented possible dangers to students.

“”It is an added protection; an option for someone left at a party, for example,”” Wahlig said.

Parent said he hopes the proposal will be completed by early winter quarter, when it will be presented to the A.S. Council budget committee. If passed, the proposal would go into effect the following Friday night.

Last year, the A.S. Council spent close to $10,000 providing the Triton Taxi service. Parent estimates that the Tijuana expansion would double the budget for Triton Taxi.

Triton Taxi service is now available Fridays and Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Its pickup number is (858) 505-4991.

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