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Nite Ride ridership nearly doubles in 2014

BY NOELLE ALKHAWAJA | JANUARY 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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Nite Ride has seen nearly a doubling in ridership since it opened in 2009, with a particularly large spike since adding an additional bus in March 2014.

“I think it’s been a very successful program, and it was increased with President Mason’s six-point strategy with addressing sexual assault on campus,” said Dave Visin, the UI assistant vice president for Public Safety. “The increase of the new van has had a very positive response by the people who use it … staff members as well as faculty.”

Statistics show the total of Nite Ride riders in 2009 was 14,472, in comparison to a total of 25,931 shown in 2014. Officials predict the numbers will climb this year because of the extra bus.

“… The Nite Ride program has been very successful by increasing ridership and reducing waiting times,” Visin said. “… Victims are feeling more confident and comfortable reporting it [sexual assault] to authorities.”

Total phone calls for the service in December 2014 was 3,770 or around 120 calls per night, Visin wrote in an email.

People who ride the bus gave positive feedback.

“I use Nite Ride maybe once a week,” UI second-year pharmacy student Estefany Garcia said. “[I live] on the other side of campus.”

Others said Nite Ride is useful in inclement weather.

“To me, I think it’s pretty effective because there are times when I am at the IMU or the library, and it’s really late, and it’s a lot easier to just ask for a ride,” said UI freshman Daisy Cuautle.“It’s nice, especially when it’s cold out.”

Susan Junis, university prevention education coordinator of the Iowa City-based Rape Victim Advocacy Program, said Nite Ride can help people feel more comfortable sharing experiences of sexual assault.

“The university is taking a meaningful action in making survivors feel able to come forward,” Junis said. “Seeing more reports [of sexual assault] is a good thing because it means that people are safer.”

Junis, as well as students and UI police, said they believe all women should take advantage of Nite Ride as a free and accessible program.

“I think Nite Ride is an amazing service to offer to students to whom it is available,” Junis said. “Anything that makes people feel safer and gives people options for personal safety is a positive thing to have on campus.”


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