UISG, ECGPS, Yellow Cab happy with SafeRide after one month


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After a month of operation, officials from University of Iowa Student Government, the Executive Council of Professional Graduate Students, and Yellow Cab Taxi of Iowa City say the SafeRide program is both effective and problem-free.

The program, which began in late August, offers free transportation on-and off-campus for students who find themselves in an emergency situation.

In order to be eligible for a free ride, the passenger must be a UI student and have a listed address in the UI phonebook. Students must present valid student IDs and must sign forms stating that their situation is an emergency and that they have not previously used the service.

UISG President Nic Pottebaum said eight students as of Sept. 19 have used the program.

“It’s hard to tell how much more use we’ll see in the future,” said UISG Vice President Jessie Tobin. “Eight is a pretty fair number. I wouldn’t expect a huge jump, but I do expect it to be fairly steady.”

Executive Council President Michael Appel said UISG came up with the idea and brought his group in to assist with both funding and negotiations.

Students may us the service only once per semester.

“We want to limit abuse of the program, and we want students to be proactive,” Pottebaum said.

He said the program has been running efficiently, with few to no problems, and he expects more students to become aware and understanding of the program as the school year advances.

“We haven’t fielded any complaints thus far,” he said. “It’s gone smoothly, and we’ve only heard positive comments.”

Both Pottebaum and Tobin emphasized the importance of spurning abuse of the program.

“It’s not a free taxi service,” Tobin said. “It’s intended for emergencies. By only giving students one use of the program, we’re preparing them to think about not putting themselves in dangerous situations.”

UI junior Scott Goedken said he supports both the SafeRide service and the one-use-per-semester rule.

“I feel that every university should provide free emergency taxi service,” he said. “It instills a sense of safety and consideration for those in need of assistance.”

UISG launched the Wingman initiative on Sept. 19 in an effort to make students cognizant of potentially dangerous situations around the community.

The initiative encourages students to be more careful in situations that are unsafe and promotes safer partying. Officials stressed SafeRide’s availability in situations that warrant emergency transportation.  

UI sophomore Jackie Steiff said any emergency-transportation service is a great asset for students.

She said she hasn’t used SafeRide but has used Nite Ride.

Roger Bradley, the manager of Yellow Cab of Iowa City, said he’s pleased with the partnership with UISG thus far.

“We love doing services like this,” he said. “We’re very happy [UISG] came to us.”

Bradley said the company has encountered no problems, and he touted the service’s “one extra passenger” rule.  

“The passenger is allowed to have one extra person go with them, and [SafeRide drivers] are also allowed to take them to a medical facility if requested,” he said.

Bradley said Yellow Cab’s business is not suffering or losing any profit due to the service.

“We hope people don’t find themselves in emergency situations,” he said. “We really enjoy working with the university.”

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