BY HALEY DICK
Gull Life Editor
Saferide, SU’s student-run transportation service, has announced that this weekend, Apr. 6—Apr. 8, they will not be operating following multiple accounts of unlawful and disrespectful behavior from their passengers.
The organization has six vans and numerous student employees that provide rides back to campus for students at off-campus locations within a three-mile radius. Their goal is to offer students free, anonymous and secure rides back to campus in hopes of promoting good decision-making.
Throughout the spring semester, violations of Saferide and state law policies have occurred on a progressively regular basis, and a line had to be drawn.
Allen Reynolds, Saferide driver and vice President of personnel, described the reoccurring incidents as a graph of exponential growth. The instances kept accumulating, and there was no other way around the situation than to temporarily shut down the operation.
“I cannot put my staff in a position of being harassed and having to deal with all these issues,” Saferide President Chris Whalen said. “It’s not fair to them.”
The drivers work to provide fast transportation for their classmates in order to insure that they get home safely. Whalen shared that some of the drivers work at Saferide because drunk driving has personally affected them and they want to make a difference for their fellow students.
If the temporary shutdown is not enough to show students the effects of their actions, the executive board will continue to brainstorm different ways on how to end the constant battle between the drivers and the students to ensure a better relationship between the two.
“This is step one in the process, and if we need to take things further, we will,” Whalen said. “If our message does not get across, we will take further action.”
The organization does not solely operate as a sober driving system, and not all the passengers are to blame. As Reynolds said, “Saferide is not a drunk bus. We are so much more than that.”
There is a range between those who use the service out of need, and those who take advantage of it. Saferide gets plenty of service from students who are out late studying and are simply looking for a safer way to get back to their homes other than walking in the dark.
The organization is here for the benefit of the student body, which is why the board expressed so much disappointment and concern, resulting in the halt of the organization’s services.
“It is not just about having thick skin,” Tricia Garvey Smith, director of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, said. “It is about breaking the law.”
In an email sent out to Salisbury University students by Smith on behalf of Saferide, it clearly stated: “this is in no way an invitation to engage in irresponsible or illegal activities, including but not limited to driving under any influences.” Students are expected to find other safe modes of transportation in the absence of Saferide.
The organization has not indicated when they will be up and operating again for student service.
Update: On Apr. 13, Saferide announced that operations would resume for the weekend of Apr. 13 through 15. The email from the Saferide Executive Board to the Salisbury University student population read as:
“Thank you for you cooperation through last weekend’s suspension of our service. We must work together as a student body to treat Saferide employees as well as fellow passengers with the utmost respect at all times.”
“As a reminder, any alcohol, tobacco, or electronic cigarettes are not tolerated in our vans under any circumstances. Additionally, we do not drop off at any restaurants, bars, or any other commercial locations or pick up from campus.”