One of Castleton State College’s most utilized and popular services has been operating on a much more consistent basis than in the past. Safe Ride, a program that offers students a free, safe, and sober ride home, has recently been running on every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. It might help that the drivers are now getting paid.
In the past, Safe Ride relied solely on volunteers, and it was difficult to predict if the service would be running from night to night. Kate Spaulding, the Administrative Assistant for the Wellness Center, can remember Safe Ride shutting down on more than one occasion due to a lack of volunteers.
“Some nights, volunteers would show up and we would have more than enough. The next night, nothing,” said Spaulding. “At the beginning of last semester, it was hard to find the volunteers we needed. I think it’s running much more smoothly now.”
Last semester, this issue was brought to the Student Association, where it was decided that drivers were to be paid $55 for one night’s work, which is typically between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Sometimes, however, drivers may see longer hours. Patrick Duffy, a senior at Castleton, was so swamped with passengers on Valentine’s Day weekend that he didn’t finish up until almost 3 a.m.
Safe Ride only employs one driver per night who mans the wheel of one of Castleton’s 12-passenger vans. Every driver must pass a defensive driving course at the college in order to drive for Safe Ride. The service runs every Thursday-Saturday night, and still relies heavily on volunteers.
“We still need people to answer phone calls and to accompany the driver,” said Spaulding. “So far this semester, we haven’t really had any problems finding volunteers. A lot of the time the student athletes will volunteer. We get a lot of help from our teams.”
With Safe Ride’s popularity growing among students, word of the service has spread to other college campuses.
“We get a lot of phone calls from other schools that are interested in starting a similar service,” said Spaulding.
Jeff Charboneau, a senior at UVM and recent visitor to the Castleton campus, is an advocate of Safe Ride.
“We definitely need something like this in Burlington,” he said. “There is something called BADD, which stands for Brothers Against Drunk Driving, but it’s really just for people in fraternities. Something for the rest of the school would be nice.”
Spaulding said that Castleton’s Safe Ride should be running every weekend from now until graduation. To contact Safe Ride, call 468-1472.