Long-Awaited SGA Safe Ride Initiative Launched with Success
Published: Sunday, December 8, 2013
Updated: Sunday, December 8, 2013 16:12
After a long week of studying in the library, attending weekly meetings, or going to practice, some students make their way off campus to various local Worcester destinations.
Thursday evenings continue to be a popular night for students to go into the downtown Worcester area. With this knowledge SGA recognized an opportunity to provide a service that was not being offered - a safe and affordable means of returning back to campus.
On Thursday, Nov. 21, SGA launched its long awaited Safe Ride Pilot Program. The Pilot Program is in effect until Dec. 5 and will be used to determine further details for the shuttle service.
Though the project was on a brief hiatus at the beginning of the semester, it has been on the SGA’s weekly meeting agenda. Safe Ride is an SGA program that has been discussed, researched, and developed over the past six months starting in June 2013. The program provides Holy Cross students of all class years with free transportation back to campus on Thursday nights, dropping students off at Linden Lane. Safe Ride is funded solely by SGA and the Student Activities Fee.
SGA researched many models since the summer, observing similar programs at various colleges, and found this system to be the strongest.
Earlier proposals involved a partnership with Worcester’s Yellow Cab Company, which would involve a reduced fare during certain hours. However, Yellow Cab’s insurance was lower than Holy Cross’ standards, and as a result, would become a liability. SGA refused to negotiate student safety and began to investigate alternative options. After months of hard work, a shuttle rather than dispatch model was proposed and determined to be the most effective, safe and timely.
SGA Co-president Natasha Giftos ’14, emphasized this point sharing, “The wait to finalize the program was more about practicality and abiding to college standards. All opposition was logistical rather than to the existence of the program as a whole.”
The Pilot Program served as a trial run for SGA, which allows them to evaluate student response and move forward.
Conor Sullivan ’14, shared “This may be one of the best programs I have seen established in my time at Holy Cross.” The feeling was clearly mutual as students filled all the shuttles at each designated hour. Though the chanting of Sweet Caroline and God Bless America filled the buses on the drive back to campus, there was never a moment when the safety of any students was compromised. SGA stressed this shuttle is not a catering service to students off campus on weekends and that a mutual respect is to be maintained.
Drivers from AA Transportation will drive the provided shuttles seating fifty students each and will pick up from Harding St. behind Wings Over Worcester outside Kelley Square.
Pick up times are at 12:30 a.m., 1:15 a.m., 1:45 a.m., and 2:15 a.m. One bus will be provided for the two earlier times and two buses will be available for the more popular, later times. These times have been structured by SGA to provide convenient and efficient transportation back to campus.
The buses are working on a schedule and leave promptly at the times listed. Giftos added, “We control the routes. We can change the service and locations as we assess student need, but the overall goal is to get something set in stone.”
As another added safety precaution, SGA requires that students present their Holy Cross IDs when getting on the shuttle. This has been implemented in the interest of student and campus security.
SGA voiced their acknowledgment of a need for this program on campus stating, “We’re recognize students go out on Thursday nights and are thus providing them with a safe mode of transportation back to Holy Cross.” SGA realize that without safe transportations, students may resort to dangerous alternatives including walking back to campus late at night or even drunk driving.
Safe Ride has been one of SGA’s many programs/events this semester to engage the students in open discussion on recreational campus activities. On Oct. 10, SGA hosted a fishbowl, moderated by Brett Gannon ’16, SGA Director of Communications, discussing the social scene of the Holy Cross campus. The fishbowl discussion was unique in that no faculty members were present, allowing students to voice their opinions freely amongst peers and discuss the need for programs like Safe Ride.
SGA co-presidents Natasha Giftos ‘14 and Neema Hakim ‘14, along with several other members of SGA and administrative advisors, celebrated the launching of the pilot program.