Feb 022006
Authors: Vimal Patel

RamRide, the university program that gives free late night, non-judgmental rides to students, doled out its 30,000th ride last Saturday, program director Kevin McBeth said.

And the service will only get more efficient now that ASCSU is looking to computerize the system, eliminating the jungle of paperwork and giving students the option of signing up for rides online.

The program is designed to make Fort Collins safer by reducing the number of intoxicated drivers roaming the city's streets.

But the free transportation isn't just for those under the influence. Any CSU student, for whatever circumstance, can get a ride home during the program's operating hours – Thursdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Friday and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Nicole Johnson, an assistant RamRide director, said it's a common myth that students must be intoxicated to use the service.

"As long as you're going home, we don't have an issue," she said. "One student used it as a ride home from work every Friday."

Or as McBeth put it, "We're not a drunk bus. We take everyone home."

It's not a personal taxi service, though. The destination can't be a party or bar, but only the rider's residence.

This means no rides into Old Town, McBeth said, adding that the program also keeps a list of houses in which parties occur frequently.

He also warns that drivers are extremely strict when it comes to the program's operating hours.

"One minute over or one minute under and (we won't give the ride)," he said. "Sometimes they think it's a joke."

Johnson said most riders are intoxicated, and that often makes for an interesting drive.

"They just start telling you their life stories," she said. "Stuff you don't want to hear about."

This academic year, ASCSU spent $68,000 on the program, about $50,000 of it on vehicles.

The 30,000th ride was given with little fanfare, McBeth said, due to a busy night in which the program was shorthanded for drivers.

ASCSU President Courtney Healey said she's proud of everyone involved with RamRide.

"They just rock," she said. "We're the most successful (safe-ride program) in the nation."

RamRide is in its third year at CSU and is modeled after the CARPOOL program at Texas A&M. However, ASCSU members said RamRide is giving out rides at a quicker pace than other programs.

Students who want a ride can call the RamRide dispatch center at (970) 491-3333.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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