A.S. Council to Ease Limits On Safe Ride

    The A.S. Council’s Safe Ride program will be undergoing a major revamping and publicity campaign in the upcoming year, returning to a policy that offers unlimited rides to registered students in need of a ride home on Friday and Saturday nights.

    Formerly known as Triton Taxi, the Safe Ride program has drawn criticism from some student leaders for its lack of exposure on campus as well as a policy change last year that implemented a punch card for riders in an attempt to cut costs by limiting use.

    “A lot of people who should know about A.S. Safe Ride don’t know about it,” said Revelle College Senior Senator Rachel Corell, one of the most prominent voices on the A.S. Council for reform of the service. “In the past, it wasn’t advertised to people as much as it could have been.”

    Revelle sophomore Michael Stockin, who first brought concerns with the service to the council, expressed a similar worry.

    “What concerns me is that I didn’t even know how to sign up for it,” he said.

    Newly elected Commissioner of Student Services Kaveh Cyrus said that, while use of the service has gone down in the past year, the number of sign-ups has remained at a steady average over the three years since the program was established.

    “Safe Rides was absolutely poorly promoted this year,” Cyrus said. “The materials were in place but nothing was done with them.”

    Cyrus acknowledged that although the quality of the Safe Ride service has been the same since it was first offered, the failure to adequately advertise is in part due to the departure of previous Commissioner of Student Services Maurice Junious, who was impeached last quarter.

    “We have been and are looking to increase funding to A.S. Safe Ride, even if they haven’t been promoted like they should have been,” Cyrus said.

    A.S. President Harry Khanna, who is currently formulating the council’s budget, said that the system’s usage was hurt by the punch-card system and not by lackluster advertising.

    Cyrus said that he is currently in the process of renegotiating the contract with Cloud 9 Shuttle, the company that provides the vans and drivers for the service.

    Along with the potential of more funding, he hopes to eventually set up easier methods for students to register for the service itself. Presently, a student may only sign up for the Safe Ride program by visiting the A.S. Council offices on the third floor of Price Center.

    The difficulty of obtaining the card was another student concern, prompting Corell to take an informal survey of how many student leaders on the council had registered for the service.

    “You think these students would be the most likely to have one,” Corell said.

    However, the vast majority of the students she spoke to either did not have a Safe Ride card or were unaware of the program’s existence.

    According to Corell, there are plans in the works to improve Safe Ride’s publicity, including making it a part of “Welcome Week” for next fall.

    She also hopes to get the word out to resident advisers and orientation leaders in order to ensure that every student wishing to use the program is aware of how to obtain a Safe Ride card.

    Along those lines, Cyrus’ office has hired five extra vans for the Sun God festival on May 12, bringing the total to nine for the event.

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