By Erica Quinones
Elm Staff Writer
Safe Ride is seeking to improve accessibility through gauging frequency of ridership.
According to a March 1 email from Student Affairs, Safe Ride is implementing a change. Safe Ride has partnered with the department of Risk Management to install ID card scanners into Safe Ride vans.
These scanners will gauge who is actually using the serviceand determine Safe Ride’s busiest times so they can improve accessibility. Because of this change, students will be required to scan their ID and notify drivers of non-student guests when using the service.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Candace Wannamaker discussed the different aspects of this policy change. While Student Affairs’ email addressed one use of data collection, there is a second reason in conjecture to the partnership with Risk Management.
Risk Management handles insurance compliance. Thus, Wannamaker said, to work with Risk Management and comply with insurance, Safe Ride needs “to know who is in [the] vehicle at all times [in case] something terrible were to happen.”
The second reason expressed in the email was to identify Safe Ride’s busiest times. However, this data is both for better availability and budgeting.
“President Landgraf says that we need to make data-informed decisions. So, if we are asking for increases in budgets or additional services, we have to be able to support it with numbers,” Wannamaker said. “I’m pretty hopeful that with the scans in place, we’ll be able to provide the data to get them the budget that they need to operate in the way they want to operate.”
When asked about the possible effects the scanner data could have on the program, Wannamaker said that she did not know until data was collected.
“It could be changing schedule hours, it could be increasing schedule hours, we really just need the data before we make decisions,” Wannamaker said.
However, she said that “There’s absolutely no plans to shut Safe Ride down.”
Along with the ID scanners and possible scheduling changes, Wannamaker discussed other areas of improvement they found. These areas included supports for the drivers, van maintenance, and budgetary constraints. However, Wannamaker said there are no planned concrete changes for Safe Ride.
Instead, they hope to progress their current policies and partnerships to provide students with what they need, whether they be a passenger or a driver. Despite the implementation of the ID scanners, students will not be denied a ride if their ID is forgotten.
“That’s just not the right thing to do,” Wannamaker said.
Drivers also have a reporting resource, which may revoke a student’s ability to use Safe Ride, to deal with misbehaving students. Additionally, she hopes to continue and further their relationship with Public Safety to assist in vehicle maintenance.
While she did identify areas of improvement, Wannamaker was overall positive about this year’s internal changes which created a more efficient Safe Ride program.
“The executive board for Safe Ride has done a phenomenal job,” Wannamaker said. “They’ve really done an outstanding job at tightening up procedures and policies, doing what’s safe for our students, and advocating to provide more services.”
There are efforts to increase diversity and inclusion at WC.
“While these are historically African American organizations, they are not only open to African American people,” Smith said. “Every organization has people from different colors, backgrounds, religious traditions — we’re open to those things because we realize that that’s the state of our world, we want to be connected.”