Students push for safe transportation


Sam Litra

SGA is planning to begin a program to bring more safe alternatives for students returning home late at night. Safe Ride Home would allow students to call a cab within a four-mile radius of UVM for a subsidized fee.

Julianne Lesch and Zoe Stern

SGA is looking to bring safer alternatives for students returning home late at night in order to combat potential dangers.

Safe Ride Home is a campus ride program in its beginning stages.

It would allow students to call a cab within a four-mile radius of  UVM for a subsidized fee, three to five times a semester, said senior Maeve McDermott, chair of SGA’s Committee on Legislative and Community Affairs.

This program would be financed through small fees billed to students, said senior Charlotte Malling, chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.

“It would be a small fee, of a dollar probably,”  Malling said. “A dollar per semester per student.

“That plays into a huge pool that would support this program, and then each student would get three to five rides each semester.”

In the past, there was a push for programs like Safe Ride Home by 2015 to 2017 former SGA Vice President Tyler Davis ’17, McDermott said.

McDermott and Malling picked up the effort in fall 2018 to push for the creation of the program.

“I think it would be a much safer option getting around Burlington,” sophomore Delaney Sullivan said. “You wouldn’t be as worried about getting into an Uber alone or rather walking if your phone died and you couldn’t get in contact with somebody.”   

Safe Ride Home has support from campus groups such as the Center for Health and Wellbeing, the Wellness Environment, Student Affairs, the Prism Center, Residential Life, Inter-Residence Association and the Graduate Students Senate.

Nearly $15,000 for the program has been raised through SGA’s online fundraiser, Malling said.

Before the plans can be finalized, Safe Ride Home must go through a University required process, a request for proposal.

A request for proposal allows for different cab companies to offer different deals and UVM will pick the deal that works best for them, McDermott said.

Students would access these subsidized rides by swiping their CATcards once in the cab, Malling said. Only one swipe would be needed per ride.

Currently, UVM offers the off-campus bus, with late-night weekend buses, which travels around the different campuses and makes a loop down to Church Street.

The late-night weekend bus stops running at 3 a.m., said Jim Barr, transportation and parking services director.

“The goal of this program is not to replace a bus or be the new late night bus,” McDermott said. “The goal is completely different in that it is a safe ride home.

You’re going from point A to point B.”

The Safe Ride Home initiative would allow students to get to streets that buses don’t access and to do so on demand, Barr said.

“I’d feel safer if these were University-sponsored because you’d know that it was a safe way to get home and back to campus if you were far away,” Sullivan said.

No formal start date has been set, McDermott said, as a request for proposal must be done and the increased fees must be passed by the board of trustees.