Safe Ride Gives Safe Passage


Matt Atwood ’15

Safe Ride, often confused with the Safety Shuttle, is available to students when they need safe passage.

With the national concern for college campus safety on the rise, Dickinson offers students the opportunity of Safe Ride, a transportation service which is operated by the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Safe Ride, not to be confused with the student-driven Safety Shuttle, is financed through the Student Senate. When the Safety Shuttle is not in operation and students feel they are unable to reach their destination safely on their own, DPS officers provide them with the Safe Ride transportation.

According to Lieutenant Joseph Fazio, an average of 80 students use the service on any given weeknight, and an average of 100 students on Friday and Saturday nights.

Since the Safe Ride program began, relatively few changes have been made to it. Captain Michael Guido said he finds the service to be “well received and very effective in solving problems on campus.” Although there are isolated incidents of over-intoxicated students, Safe Ride is based primarily on a system of trust:

“As a general rule, we will pick you up in a police car and take you someplace if the Safety Shuttle is not working, whenever it’s not working. We call it the Safe Ride, but we do not want it to be confused with ‘getting a ride.’ It’s safe passage. We will have a police officer come over and safely get you from one place to another,” said Guido.

For example, if an officer reveives a call from a student who had only a few blocks to walk, the officer will walk the student to his or her destination. The primary function of the service is to focus on making sure students are able to reach their desired location safely, rather than on the method of transportation.

When asked why students use Safe Ride, Guido responded, “I’m not sure why they do it, but I can tell you why you should do it: you shouldn’t be walking alone.”
In a recent incident involving student safety on college campuses, a sophomore at the University of Virginia (UVA) was abducted while struggling to find her way home from a party. According to the September 23, 2014, Huffington Post article by the Associated Press, the student’s body has yet to be found, although a suspect has been arrested. This is just one of the circumstances Safe Ride hopes to prevent.

While many students find that the program is an effective way to get from one place to another, other students are not aware of its existence.
“I don’t actually know what the difference between Safe Ride and the Safety Shuttle are,” said Kevin Skowronski ’17. “All I know is whichever one I called last year to take me back to my dorm from Wal-Mart took way too long.”

Despite this negative cmment, Guido offered this advice to students for preventing incidents like the UVA abduction from happening on Dickinson’s campus:
“Everybody should first off be on the Red Alert system. If you’re not on the Red Alert system and you’re reading this, get on the Red Alert system.” He continued, “The second thing is to make sure you understand where all the blue lights are on campus, and the third and final thing is whenever you’re traveling anywhere, even on campus, try not to do it by yourself. There’s safety in numbers.”