Jan 192010
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

This semester, students wanting to use RamRide, student government’s safe ride program, will spend less time lost in translation, program leaders said.

But because the new system has yet to be tested, RamRide Director Eric Berlinberg said he was unable to say exactly how much shorter waits will be under the new system.

During winter break, the program was revamped with a new $10,000 dispatch system that will increase the rides given each weekend from 1,000 to an estimated 1,200. RamRide will rent the new software component for $3,500 per academic year.

After officials from the Associated Students of CSU worked a money-saving contract with CSU Motor Pool earlier this year, RamRide saw significant growth in its budget, Berlinberg said, allowing for the upgrade.

With the old technology, purchased when RamRide started in 2003, between five and six rides were lost each night. The ensuing “paperwork shuffle” resulted in longer wait time, Berlinberg said.

Under the old system, drivers were required to call the dispatcher for new assignments after delivering each rider to his or her destination. With the new technology, locations of all incoming calls are automatically forwarded to the closest available vehicle.

The average wait time for rides last semester was one hour and 41 minutes, Berlinberg said.

Charlie Murphy, a junior computer science major, said he’s had both good and bad experiences with RamRide. On one occasion he said the wait was only 20 minutes, but on others two hours.

“I know I’ve called a couple times and just given up because the wait time was too long,” Murphy said. “Who knows if I’ll even be there in two hours.”

In cadence with the user-friendly dispatch system, a plasma screen TV was installed to show real-time tracking of all the vehicles on a map of Fort Collins.

“We lose a lot of time from our volunteers picking up friends. We’re trying to get rid of that,” he said.

The RamRide team is just beginning to take a look at possibilities for the future, which Berlinberg said would involve moving out from under the umbrella of ASCSU within the next three years.

“RamRide is a hefty department for ASCSU,” he said. “We’re getting very big for our britches.”

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

Restructuring Ramride

-What: New dispatch system installed in RamRide, student government’s safe ride program
-Cost: $10,000
Will increase rides given each weekend from 1,000 to an estimated 1,200

RamRide Facts:
-Has provided 104,112 rides since Oct. 24, 2003
-Operations start Thursday at 10 p.m.
-Rides are provided Thursday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., but do not run during school holidays or during the summer

-Phone: 970-491-3333

 Posted by at 5:41 pm

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