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Express Runs Added To Safe Ride Services

By Douglas E. Heimburger
Editor in Chief

ASafe Ride vehicles will now make express runs across the Harvard Bridge on a time-available basis, and drivers will now be allowed to make discretionary stops.

When a Safe Ride vehicles arrive more than seven minutes before its next scheduled departure from 77 Massachusetts Avenue, the driver will have the option of making an express run over the Harvard Bridge, said John McDonald, director of parking and transportation, in a statement.

"These are convenience things that are very customer service oriented," said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin, noting that the express service should cut down on the waiting time for many students.

In the future, depending on its use, an express service may be provided on a scheduled basis, Glavin said. "Students are most desiring of a shuttle" service just across the bridge.

The Undergraduate Association and the Graduate Student Council have been working for some time to discuss extended SafeRide services with parking officials, saidSeema Nagpal '99, UAsecretary general in a statement.

On Aug. 5, the two groups co-wrote a letter to Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow '72 asking for larger vans, daytime shuttles, and new stops in areas where many graduate students live.

Besides the changes in Safe Ride effective immediately, the Parking and Transportation Office will also be experimenting with a new Logan Airport shuttle on Nov. 24 and 25, with Safe Ride vehicles providing shuttles every half hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Tickets for that service will cost $5.

"One of the concerns is the cost because you have to bring the drivers in to do that,"Glavin said, but the shuttle service may become permanent depending on usage at Thanksgiving.

Usage of the Boston Safe Ride routes increased more than 20 percent during the first half of 1998, with 52,331 people using the routes compared to 40,660 during the first half of 1997, according to the Campus Police mid-year crime report.

Students, drivers support change

Many of those on Safe Ride yesterday evening said that the changes to the service will be very useful to them.

Peggy J. Hollermann '00, who lives at Alpha Chi Omega, supports the new feature "as long as [the regular van] is here on time." She said that students often take SafeRide across the bridge "just to go to Tower [Records]."

"I would very much like to see a just bridge' shuttle, especially if you could get it to run during the day," said Patrick M. Pittman '01.

Safe Ride drive Mike Cirillo said that students would use the service, "especially during the high volume times." He said that many students currently ride Safe Ride just across the bridge, although "a lot more on Boston East than on Boston West."

Committee will evaluate options

While Safe Ride drivers have now been given new flexibility, a committee is being formed to evaluate future options for the shuttle service in general.

The new group will determine "the future of shuttle service in general at MIT,"Glavin said. Included on the committee will be two undergraduate students and a graduate student.

The UAhas traditionally run a shuttle service at the end of each term. Whether Safe Ride will take over that service will be considered by the new committee.

Safe Ride services initially began with one van in April 1991. Before then,CampusPolice officers were responsible for providing nighttime shuttles.

More recently, plans for expanding the A Safe Ride program have been popular with UAcandidates. In 1997, Dedric A.Carter '98 successfully ran for UApresident, calling for a Safe Ride service to run exclusively across the Harvard Bridge as part of his campaign platform. This year, UAPresident Paul T. Oppold '99 ran on a platform that included urging extension of Safe Ride to daytime hours.