SGA proposes student ‘Safe-Ride’ program

Initiative seeks to provide affordable cab transportation for Flagler community

By Lauren Belcher |

Sophomore accounting major, Emma Loss said if she were ever in an unsafe situation or environment, she hopes she could call someone to get her out of it.

Loss explained that she, like most students, does not carry enough money to pay the fare for a taxicab if the situation presented itself.

This is why the Student Government Association is adamant that Flagler should have a Safe-Ride program.

“It’s like any other program that tries to deter drinking and driving,” SGA President Kaitlyn Mairs said. “We’re trying to start by offering a free cab ride, or a ride at a minimal cost, to all the on-campus students from any of the beach bars or Fusion.”

According to Mairs, SGA will focus the program on boarding students first and later evaluate expansion.
Sophomore communication major Balyn Senseney hopes the program will also include off campus students.
“I live off campus and I think it’s a really good idea,” Senseney said. “But since it’s a money issue, maybe off-campus students could pay a small amount while on campus students’ rides are free.”

Sophomore psychology and Spanish major Chris Stokes lives on campus and said he would use the program if implemented.

“I think it’s a smart move,” he said. “It’s even better for those of us who don’t have cars in the first place.”
University Cab Cash is one variant of the Safe-Ride program. Many Florida colleges have this program, which involves a prepaid card that students can use exclusively for cab rides home.

According to the UCC Web site, schools ranging from large universities like the University of Florida, to community colleges like Palm Beach Community College, and even small colleges like Rollins and Eckerd implement this program.

“I think we need a Safe-Ride program, because there’s no need for the students at Flagler to be unsafe,” Mairs said.

“One of the main things people say is, ‘We’ve never really had a problem with that, or we’ve never experienced anyone getting in an accident.’ There is no reason something like that would have to happen just to get the program started.”

Scott Campbell, Mothers Against Drunk Driving community site coordinator for Volusia and Flagler Counties, said he supports the Safe-Ride program 300 percent.

“There are 16,000 people a year that lose their lives to drinking and driving crashes, triple that are the people that are terrorized by these crashes, whether paralyzed or seriously injured,” Campbell said. “The most unfortunate statistic is 8,000 of those 16,000 are teenagers not even old enough to drink.”

Dean of Student Services Daniel Stewart says Safe-Ride programs can be very productive on college campuses, but he has some reservations about the current proposal. Stewart said the students must think of things like how far of a radius the program would include and where the ride will be able to take them.

“There are a lot of issues involved with it that I want to make sure they’ve looked at before they make their final presentation,” he said.

Stewart also said he and the administration should be presented with the final proposal soon.

“I think once the students become aware of it, it might be to their benefit,” Stewart said. “It encompasses a large amount of things and obviously would benefit some of our students that find themselves in those situations.”

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