Fed up with SafeRide

Sebosis Lydia Paul takes SafeRide about once a week. (Shane Magee/AQ)

SafeRide isn’t as good of a service as SafeWheels was, says St. Thomas University student Sebosis Lydia Paul.

“The first two times that I took SafeRide, the UNB guys didn’t even know where to go. I had to tell them where to go,” the second-year political science student said.

“The guys driving scared me. I was really sure we were going to hit another vehicle.”

STUSU vice-president student life Alex Vietinghoff said he has heard of similar issues.

“I’ve heard people saying the wait is longer at the Students’ Union Building than James Dunn. That’s something that we’re going to look into,” Vietinghoff said.

He thinks the drivers may not know the new contract requires one van to wait at James Dunn Hall.

The drivers are hired by the UNBSU.

Alex Vietinghoff (Shane Magee/AQ file photo)

Vietinghoff hasn’t received any formal complaints and encourages students to send feedback on the service to him. He said he has heard people like the improved hours of service SafeRide provides.

Over the summer, the St. Thomas University students’ union merged its SafeWheels service with the similar University of New Brunswick student union service called SafeRide.

SafeRide is a free drive offered in the evening for students going home from campus.

Merging meant the STUSU pays the UNBSU $6,000 for the year for the service, down from the $10,000 they paid last year to Trius Taxi for SafeWheels.

SafeWheels operated 10 hours a week. SafeRide operates 40 hours a week.

The contract between the two students’ unions is supposed to ensure equal access to SafeRide for UNB and STU students.

STU students should be able to access SafeRide from outside James Dunn Hall, the Students’ Union Building and Head Hall at UNB.

“Both the vans are always at the SUB, and when you get there, UNB students – it’s like they have dibs,” Paul said.

She uses the service about once a week now that she lives on campus.

“I used it all the time last year and I really liked it. Because I lived [off-campus] so I used it probably like three times a week last year and it was better last year,” Paul said.

“Last year the driver was really polite, you didn’t have to give them directions on where to go and his driving skills were good. They were also always here. If not, you knew they were taking other people home.”

Another SafeRide user said she’s had a mixed experience.

“On some days it’s good, on some days it’s bad. I find sometimes it’s very unreliable,” said Tanaka Chinembiri, who uses the service nearly every day.

“They don’t stick to the schedule they say they’re going to run. Or the service in general, like the people are just not enthusiastic about their job,” she added.

Chinembiri said there is one driver who she likes because she gets to know the passenger.

Attempts to reach UNBSU vice-president of services Chantel Whitman, who is responsible for administering SafeRide, for comment were unsuccessful.

Alex Vietinghoff can be reached at su_vpsl@stu.ca.

Clarification: In the print version SafeRide is said to be a “free taxi ride.” SafeRide is not a taxi. 

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  • Show Comments (3)

  • Concerned

    I'd like to point out that there was never a board at JDH like at the SUB whenever I tried using the service. Isn't that something the STUSU should've taken care of as soon as we signed the contract?

  • Just pointing out

    “The first two times that I took SafeRide, the UNB guys didn’t even know where to go. I had to tell them where to go.”, “SafeRide is a free taxi ride offered in the evening for students going home from campus.” and “Last year the driver was really polite, you didn’t have to give them directions on where to go and his driving skills were good. They were also always here. If not, you knew they were taking other people home.”

    —It's not a taxi, which is why you didn't have to give the guy directions. The SafeRide drivers are students, not professional drivers. The drivers may not be the best, but they don't take a test on their knowledge of Fredericton streets. Drivers have to submit a driving record (a government document) providing proof of any accidents and violations they may have committed in the previous -three- years. They may not be taxi quality, but they try their best.

    “They don’t stick to the schedule they say they’re going to run. Or the service in general, like the people are just not enthusiastic about their job”

    —This would be because the people that get into the van tend to go in various directions. The drivers would be able to stick to a schedule to the minute if the people in the van all went to the same place; but they don't. I've seen 3 people get into SafeRide, one going to forest hill, one going to the top of prospect and one going to York. It doesn't always end up being perfect.

    “I’ve heard people saying the wait is longer at the Students’ Union Building than James Dunn. That’s something that we’re going to look into,”

    yet the VP claims that

    “[he] hasn’t received any formal complaints and encourages students to send feedback on the service to him.”

    I suggest that if someone is going to publish an article about SafeRide being inadequate, they should probably get their facts straight, bearing in mind that SafeRide is a free service.

  • Acctualllyy

    re:Just pointing out

    Saferide is free to use, but in reality, it is paid for by fees from the students, so while we don't pay per ride, it should be accountable to the student body.

    But really, I think this article is a little foolish. Sure there is a transition period and sure, it's going to be different from last year, but that's fine. I think it's great that we are supporting student jobs. Maybe they aren't always "enthusiastic" but does that really matter when the goal is to just get you home safe? would it be nice? of course. But maybe they're just shy.

    There are a lot of good things about the transition- the service starting earlier, going more frequently, and being able to catch it by the SUB. Maybe I didn't set of their STUdent radar, but the other students I have taken it with from the SUB didn't even give a second thought to which school I was from.

    There are ways to handle concerns, going to the paper is one of them, but really a safety concern, if you are afraid you are going to hit another car, should be submitted in a real complaint.

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