Oct 222009
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Student government’s safe-ride program will hit its 100,000 ride on its 6th anniversary Saturday night.

Director of the RamRide program Eric Berlinburg said this “milestone” is a huge accomplishment for the organization and will be celebrated with a gift bag filled with snacks and “RamRide schwag” for the 100,000th passenger.

If the passenger meant to receive the gift bag is unable to accept it at the time the ride is given, Strauch said the team will make a “valiant effort” to get contact information and award the prize at a later date.

RamRide, which is based on Texas A&M’s CARPOOL safe-ride program, was created in 2003, and Matt Strauch, spokesperson for the Associated Students of CSU, said that the idea came about following the alcohol-related death of student Samantha Spadey. He said it also fell into step with Gov. Bill Ritter’s “stringent” control on DUI crimes.

“A lot of the program was based out of need to meet the demand of safe, affordable ways to get home on nights where there may have been drinking,” Strauch said.

Berlinberg said that RamRide has surpassed the rate of growth for many of the university safe-ride programs in the country and serves as a model for institutions looking to implement similar services.

“We’re up there in the league of Texas A&M,” he said.

RamRide provides an average of 950 rides every weekend in comparison to CARPOOL, which averages 825 rides per weekend. However, Berlinberg said, the dispatch system RamRide currently uses prevents it from reaching higher numbers.

Kayla Roofe, a freshman communications major, said that even though she’s heard complaints about the wait time, she has tried calling RamRide since she’s been at CSU. She’s has never gotten an answer.

“I think it would be (a valuable program) if it worked, because in my experience, it hasn’t,” Roofe said.

In response to that same problem, the program directors are looking to install a new system by the end of the academic year that will “minimize the human error” in the system and lower the number of calls cancelled because of wait time, which runs around 50 to 75 cancellations per weekend.

“We’re looking at the same kind of dispatch system a metropolitan taxi company would have,” Strauch said.

Derek Pike, a junior history major, said the program is an invaluable entity that provides what he considers the best option after a night of drinking because it’s free.

“There are so many kids who are faced with the option to drive home, but this is another option for them to consider,” Pike said.

In addition to the giveaway during the 100,000th ride, Berlinberg and his associate and assistant directors have planned a series of celebratory gatherings for the campus community.

A birthday party on the Lory Student Center Plaza — Oct. 26

Chippers Lane $10 bowling fundraiser — Oct. 30

An invitation-only 100,000th celebration — Nov. 9, and

100,000 student event on the Plaza — Nov. 10.

“From the viewpoint of ASCSU leadership, this team of six is truly taking RamRide to new places,” Strauch said.

Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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