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