Nov 162010
 
Authors: Jordyn Dahl

After initially stating that an expansion of RamRide –– CSU’s Thursday-through-Saturday safe ride program –– would not happen this year, student government officials said they are now looking at making the program bigger.

The Associated Students of CSU is looking into getting a more effective dispatch system that is similar to the ones taxi companies use. The system would have a tracking device on each car and enable dispatch to send a car that is closest to the location of the call to complete the ride.

One of the systems officials are looking at is owned by Sprint, the company that currently supplies cell phones for RamRide.

RamRide Director Regina Martel, however, said the current system is working well and those working in the RamRide office like it. They currently use a Microsoft Access spreadsheet that links all the computers together so everyone can see the rides coming in.

“Everyone really likes the current system,” she said. “The dispatch system is working.”
Increasing the number of cars used by RamRide was one of the campaign promises made by President Cooper Anderson and Vice President Jennifer Babos, but earlier this year they said this would not be possible.

In an address to the Senate when Martel was ratified this year, Anderson said expansion was no longer an option and RamRide needed to focus on perfecting the dispatch system.

But in an interview with the Collegian Thursday, Anderson changed this statement, saying expansion could happen and RamRide is looking into what options they have.

“We have a really good and dedicated staff,” Anderson said. “I think it’s time that we start ramping it up and see where we can go.”

Earlier this year, Martel also said she had no intention of increasing the fleet size but wanted to focus on making the dispatch system better. Last week, though, she said she is definitely looking to expand, but it comes down to getting more volunteers.

RamRide is at capacity for volunteers for the rest of this semester and is offering incentives to those looking to volunteer next semester. After volunteering five times, participants will get a RamRide t-shirt, and after volunteering 10 times, participants will get a hoodie.

Eric Berlinberg, deputy chief of staff and former RamRide director, said expanding involves more than just getting volunteers. CSU’s Motor Pool, the organization RamRide rents its cars from, has to have more cars available to rent as well.

Anderson also said the program needed to work on the current RamRide fund to make it endowed ­­–– meaning it would generate interest and become self-sufficient, no longer relying on student fees to continue its operation.

The fund was at around $16,000, but Anderson just put in $8,670.25 to increase the fund to $25,000, giving it enough money to begin collecting interest. ASCSU’s director of finance and president will look over the fund.

The money came from a self-generating account –– which hasn’t been touched for about 10 years –– that ASCSU had from past years when revenue would come in from projects like long-distance cell phones the office used to sell.

The goal is for the endowment fund to eventually reach $2.2 million and produce $100,000 in interest every year, assuming the interest rate stays at the current 4.5 percent. This would enable RamRide to run independently from student fees. The office hasn’t set a goal for when they want to reach the $2.2 million mark.

“This shows a commitment to the program,” Anderson said of putting nearly $9,000 into the account. “The program will be more well off for success if we are committed to it.”

ASCSU Beat Reporter Jordyn Dahl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

The Changes

  • RamRide expanding program with dispatch system and number of cars
  • Want to get new dispatch system that taxi drivers use –– car closest to the call makes the pick-up,
  • Want to increase the number of cars but need more volunteers for next semester,
  • Made the fund endowed –– it reached the $25,000 mark and will start generating interest –– getting it closer to becoming self-sustaining.
 Posted by at 5:21 pm

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