Projected cost of SafeRide: $120k
SafeRide is the newest addition to Rensselaer’s Student Living and Learning arsenal of student resources, chosen “in response to students’ requests for another transportation option.”
The door-to-door service has been designed with the safety of student users in mind, and acts within a similar boundary to the RPI Campus Shuttle. Each SafeRide car is equipped with a trained driver and passenger, along with a dispatcher placed in Off-Campus Commons to provide safe and efficient transportation for students to and from the academic campus and the students’ home.
Early on, SafeRide affiliates sent the Student Senate a document outlining budget projections in hopes of collaboration, and possibly funding, which was denied. In that document, the projected first year expenses were $139,015.20, with the majority of that cost coming from payroll expenses.
However, the cost of the ride scheduling app TransLoc is factored into those projections, but is not currently in use. The projected cost of TransLoc and iPads is $10,440 annually, with an additional one-time $2,500 start-up fee.
The projected annual cost for following years is $132,180, or $121,740 without the TransLoc app.
The driver and passenger pair have been trained on defensive driving and situational safety techniques. There are currently 23 students employed, ten of which are on call—split between two shifts—from 6:45 pm to 3 am.
Two Honda Fit EVs are currently in use, which can seat the driver, a hired passenger, and three other individuals. On the website, it is recommended to “consider using an alternative transportation option” if the party is larger than two people.
There are a few notable service restrictions, such as not giving rides from a student’s home to any location other than academic campus, or from academic campus to anywhere but the student’s home.
In the event of inclement weather, or if the shuttle service is cancelled for an evening, SafeRide will not dispatch drivers.
There is currently no way to check that a student’s home is actually their home, so drivers are operating on an honor system. However, drivers may deny rides if they feel passengers are being dishonest; according to one driver, he would deny a ride to a girl if she claimed her home was a fraternity house.
Currently, SafeRide operates by calling 518-276-3103, but they intend to implement a phone app request system in the future.