Saferides made its comeback to the Vermillion community on the evenings of Sept. 9 and 10. Student Government Association (SGA) President Caleb Weiland said Saferides is exactly what it sounds like, “a safe ride for students to go to and from downtown across the community.”
From 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Saferides will be open and available for student use. When in need of a ride to the downtown area or back home, call 605-624-RIDE to get in touch with a driver. The service is completely free.
USD did have a Saferides program implemented in the past, however, it was forced to cease its services for three years due to COVID-19, Weiland said. SGA members worked hard over the summer to make sure it could be implemented again, Weiland said.
Weiland said he and SGA Vice President Reagan Kolberg were talking with student organizations such as Greek Life on campus when they realized people really wanted this service.
“It wasn’t really a thing of reinventing or bringing it back. It was the fact that people have never been on this campus with the program implemented except for the seniors this year,” Weiland said.
Rides are available for all USD students and civilians can receive rides as well. Weiland said Saferides will ensure an overall safer experience for students as it gets potentially drunk drivers off of the highway and could bring down the rates of rapes, sexual assaults and DUIs.
Weiland said the first step is getting people on the bus so they do not have to worry about getting home safely. The second step is ensuring a safe environment for riders and drivers alike.
From the start of the night to the end of the night, each bus will have two student monitors to ensure a calm and respectful environment, Weiland said. In addition to enhanced safety for student monitors, there will also be enhanced incentivization with their pay grade raising from $12 an hour to $20 an hour, Weiland said.
“A lot of students are going to use this program and they’re going to rely on this program. If this program does not run because we don’t have a student monitor on that bus, that is the easiest and most avoidable thing we can do,” Weiland said.