The University of New Brunswick Student Union announced the addition of a third van to the SafeRide program on Sept. 18 to help reduce wait times for the service.
Brian Tozer, the UNBSU vice-president of student life, said that the two vans weren’t enough.
“We just couldn’t keep up with the demand. So, what we did was we approached the STUSU exec, and we also approached the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design downtown, and we basically brought forward this new model of SafeRide that would see three vans instead of two,” Tozer said.
The new model, however, will cost significantly more than the old one. Matt LeBlanc, the STUSU vice-president of administration, elaborated on the financial aspect of the expansion. He said STU paid about $13,000 for SafeRide last year.
“We have paid an additional $4,750 . . . that is going toward the new van . . . and if the new van stays permanently, then our yearly contribution will go up,” LeBlanc said.
Some students are asking if the expansion is really worth it, especially since many students were frustrated with SafeRide last year.
Manuel Garcia, a second year student at STU, highlighted a couple of these frustrations.
“There were times when there were like 10 people in line for SafeRide, but only six could take it,” he said. “A ride that should take you like five minutes from STU to your residence can take you like 20 minutes if they decide to drop [off] the other person first.”
The problems that Garcia mentioned should be solved by the expansion. Under the new system, students won’t have to wait as long to get a ride and their route home will be more direct.
“St. Thomas will see double the amount of visits that it did before, for the most part, just because there is a van dedicated to St. Thomas now, whereas before the St. Thomas van shared duty with the SUB,” Tozer said.
If students still experience issues with SafeRide, they now have a designated avenue for voicing their frustrations.
Jimy Beltran, the STUSU vice-president of student life, said that last year there was no person to receive SafeRide complaints and talk to UNBSU. This year, students who wish to complain about the SafeRide service can go to him.
“The STU team has built better relationships with UNBSU so that we can have better connections and better communications,” said Beltran. “[When someone has a complaint], that person will have to come to me, and I go to the UNBSU representative, in this case the vice-president student life, who will hear my complaint and [we’ll] work together to solve it.”