Due to a change to mandatory 10-digit dialing that was implemented across the state on Saturday, students were unable to reach The Ride’s phone line this weekend. The lack of service prompted some students to voice their concerns about The Ride’s role on campus and issues of student safety.
A representative from Transportation Services, when contacted by The Argus on Monday morning, said that he had not heard about any problems with The Ride this weekend. Three hours later, Public Safety sent out an all-campus e-mail explaining that phone service changes had caused the technical issues.
“We are working with WesTel and believe these issues will be resolved soon,” the e-mail said.
On Saturday, Kara Ingraham ’11 began forming a student committee that will make a presentation to the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) on Sunday calling for reforms of The Ride’s policy and new measures to ensure student safety.
Ingraham formed a Facebook event called “The Ride: Something Needs to Change,” which currently has over 250 members. The event page asks students to share their experiences and complaints about The Ride.
Kumail Akbar ’12, who was assaulted near President Michael Roth’s house on Friday night, posted on the event page that The Ride’s inefficiency was a contributing factor in his assault. Akbar also expressed his dissatisfaction with The Ride in an interview with The Argus.
“I called The Ride before I left,” he said. “They told me they would be there in five to seven minutes, but from past experience five to seven minutes does not mean five to seven minutes. It takes them quite a while to get there, especially on weekend nights; they are extremely unpredictable.”
“I understand that there’s a lot of discontent and we’re very committed to addressing students’ problems,” said Ben Firke ’12, Chair of the Finance and Facilities Committee of the WSA. “What we’re doing right now is trying to determine what are the problems that Transporation and Public Safety need to fix and what are the problems that the WSA can address.”
In an interview with The Argus, Ingraham said that The Ride’s unreliability makes students more likely to take the risk of walking across campus at night.
“Students are starting to make the decision to just walk, which is a decision they wouldn’t make with a system that is in place and working efficiently,” Ingraham said. “You shouldn’t be walking by yourself, especially if you’re a female at 11 o’clock at night.”
Igraham also noted that she believes the locations of some Ride stops pose a danger to students.
“I live on Pine—they’re asking us to go to a stop that’s seven houses down and that’s unprotected, open to the side street, and in front of a dark building,” Ingraham said. “It’s easier for them to come down seven houses than it is for me to stand out in the cold and dark.”
Ingraham hopes that bringing these issues to the WSA will start a conversation about The Ride on campus.
“It’s just a general frustration students have with The Ride,” she said. “It’s fine if they’re not a door-to-door service, but they need to be efficient in what they’re doing.”