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Safe Ride Expansion Benefits Off-Campus Students


Rita Lin -- The Tech
Safe Ride expanded its two Cambridge routes earlier this month to become more accesible for students living off campus.

By Rita Lin
staff reporter

After months of discussion and planning, Safe Ride has expanded its Cambridge routes, hoping to become more accessible and convenient for graduate students living off campus.

"The decision to expand was made as a result of a proposal made by the Graduate Student Council," said Co-Chair of the GSC Housing and Community Affairs Committee Jennifer A. Sullivan G. Members of the GSC have been discussing the possibility of expanding Safe Ride since last spring.

The expanded routes took effect on Oct. 1, adding six new stops in Cambridge, where many graduate students live. The Boston routes were unchanged.

Both the East Cambridge and West Cambridge routes have three more stops each. Cambridge East shuttles now stop at 638 Cambridge Street and at the corner of Sciarappa Street and Spring Street, while the Cambridge West shuttles now stop at 22 Magazine Street, 129 Franklin Street, and the corner of Magazine Street and Erie Street.

New routes target more students

Seema Jaggi G, a Housing and Community Affairs Committee member, led the effort to reorganize the Cambridge routes. Jaggi received suggestions from students through e-mail.

Off-campus student addresses were obtained and sorted by zip code, then "marked on a map to see what areas had high concentrations of students," Sullivan said.

Using that information, Jaggi and Housing and Community Affairs Committee Co-Chair Geoffrey J. Coram G worked with the Campus Police to design a route that was focused on benefitting more graduate students living off-campus.

Although many stops were suggested and considered, the final decision was made taking the original route into consideration.

While the purpose of route expansion was to benefit graduate students, the plan was not to redesign routes but rather to enhance the old routes with a few selectively placed new stops, Jaggi said.

The six new designated stops were chosen because they fit cleanly into the original Safe Ride shuttles' schedules and routes, she said.

Routes will stay under half hour

While new stops add more convenience, riders should also expect rides to take longer.

"In order to include these new stops, the runs needed to be lengthened," said John Schmidt, who works for Standard Parking, the company that manages Safe Ride.

The CPs, fighting falling Safe Ride ridership, wanted to keep the runs under half an hour. Since the Boston routes were already half an hour long, no new stops were added, Sullivan said.

Safe Ride has not yet determined whether or not more shuttles will be needed to maintain this schedule, Schmidt said.

The new stops will be in effect for a six-month trial period. After six months, the feasibility of continuing these stops will be reviewed and evaluated by the CPs and the GSC to determine whether or not they will become a part of the permanent routes.

All Safe Ride shuttles leave on the half hour hour from 84 / 77 Massachusetts Avenue as usual. Schedules are available at the Parking and Transportation Office, room 16-539.