Institute to Double Safe Ride ProgramBy Eva Moy
Following the recommendation of the Institute Committee on Safety, MIT will double the size of the Safe Ride program by adding one van to each of the two existing routes, according to Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin. The new vans will be equipped to handle handicapped students.
The Committee on Safety is still considering changing the routes and/or making the shuttles run on set schedules. Along with changes in A Safe Ride, the committee also made recommendations for installing new emergency telephones and lighting around campus.
Lighting in areas around Memorial Drive is currently under review, Glavin said.
The expanded shuttle system may be put into operation by early December, Glavin said. The Campus Police are "moving ahead," examining van specifications and filing paperwork for hiring about six more drivers, she said. The date all four vans go into service will depend on "how quickly people respond to the job offers, and how quickly we can get the vans in," Glavin added.
Factors in the decision
In addition the safety committee, an ad hoc committee was created to look specifically at A Safe Ride, emergency telephones, and lighting.
Because the Institute can not afford to expand A Safe Ride all at once, the safety committee explored several options for expansion, said Ad Hoc Committee Chairman Stephen D. Immerman, who is also director of Special Services.
The committee considered the costs, options, and alternatives for the Safe Ride program and "let the decision makers know the options, the implications, [and] the scenarios," he said.
A basic shuttle costs approximately $18,000; however, fully handicapped-accessible vans, which are now required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, would greatly increase the price, Glavin said. Also, maintenance costs will probably add another $50,000 in expenses that has not been budgeted, Immerman said.
A year and a half ago, "when we first looked at the kind of project that might be needed, the expense was enormous," Immerman said. With no experience, it was prudent to see how the project evolved as program coordinators gained expertise and experience, he added.
As A Safe Ride continues to expand, it will reach "a point where it doesn't make sense for MIT to operate it," Immerman said. When this happens, MIT may decide to hire an outside contractor with larger vehicles.
The Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, Campus Police, and faculty and student representatives, among others, make up the Institute's standing Committee on Safety.
The ad hoc committee's recommendations were presented to Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56, who considered them when reporting to President Charles M. Vest and Provost Mark S. Wrighton.
In addition to representatives from ODUESA and Campus Police, the ad hoc committee includes representatives from Telecommunications Systems, Physical Plant, and the Department of Housing and Food Services, who specifically advise the standing committee on the issues of emergency telephones and lighting.