UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

‘Safe Ride’ For Students Is Expected To Be Available By The Second Week Of April



Jesse Wright, chair of Budget and Finance in the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), and Police Chief James Overton agree the “Safe Ride” program has been a long time coming. “It is something I have wanted to do since I started here,” said Overton.

The plan was in the works before last week’s armed robbery on Mount Vernon Street. According to both Overton and Wright, similar programs at other universities have reduced the frequency of such incidents.

Safe Ride will provide students with transportation in a 12-passenger van from a campus building to their car or, if they live in the Peninsula or Harbor Point apartment complex, to their home. The van will make regular rounds between 5 p.m. and 12 a.m., and will be available on-call until 1 a.m.

Users of the service must be UMass Boston students with a current I.D. Proposed stops include the hourly lot and bus stop behind Wheatley, the Campus Center traffic circle, the area near the soccer field delivery area behind the Campus Center, Lot A, the bus stop near the Clark Athletic Center, the Peninsula Parking Lot, Lot D and the Harbor Point complex.

The USG has been influential in drafting the plans for Safe Ride, as well as expediting its implementation. They plan to contribute $5,000 to $7,500 towards the van’s total purchase cost, which will then become the property of the Public Safety Department as a police vehicle. The police will then absorb the ongoing cost of fuel and maintenance.

Student Cadet interns will drive the van. These are students in the Public Safety Department’s program to learn basic police procedures, and will be required to pass a certification test to qualify as drivers.

Matthew Poirier, Student Safety Director of the USG, contributed to the design of the van’s route, and worked with the Public Safety department to move the plan forward. “The Safe Ride program represents an unprecedented collaboration effort between Public Safety and the student body,” he said.

The program was sorely needed, according to Poirier. In his proposal to the USG, he wrote, “One of the number one concerns for students on this campus is walking to their cars or apartments late at night when they do not feel safe. We unfortunately do have occurrences in our parking lots that justify these concerns. Starting this program will show the University community that we are aware of their concerns and are working to address them.”

Safe Ride should have come sooner, according to Jesse Wright, who expressed his exasperation: “Given the growing number of students and the changing shape of the university, as far as becoming more residential, it is about time a program like this was taken seriously.”

Overton explained the delay: “The idea was to have the student cadets operate the van. […] Getting the Student Cadet program up and running took longer than expected, which delayed the Safe Ride.” He aims to have the Safe Ride up and running by the second week of April.

About the Contributor
Jacob Aguiar served as the following positions for The Mass media the following years: News Editor: 2011-2012; Fall 2012 Leisure Editor: 2010-2011