Aug 282011
 
Authors: Emily Horn

In the wake of vast changes over summer, RamRide revved up its engines this weekend with its first time operating since the end of the May semester. The safe ride program transported more than 1,000 students with the help of more cars and a larger staff.

Associated Students of CSU President Eric Berlinberg said he has high hopes for RamRide’s eighth year transporting students.

“This is the first year we’ve had a director of the department over the summer and during the first weekend of school,” Berlinberg said.

According to Allison McVey, director of RamRide, the first weekend of operation went as smoothly as Berlinberg expected.

“It went really well,” McVey said.

One of the biggest changes made to RamRide this year is the number of cars used. Last year they had six cars operating on Thursday nights and 15 cars on Friday and Saturday nights. This year they are using nine cars on Thursdays and 19 cars on both Fridays and Saturdays.

“More vehicles leads to decreased wait times,” Berlinberg said. “But this also means that we need more volunteers to operate these additional cars.”

RamRide is implementing a new payment structure for student organizations to raise the incentive for volunteers. This year, when a group volunteers for RamRide they will receive money for their organization, which will increase both the second and third time they volunteer. RamRide also gives more money to those organizations that volunteer on Thursdays, due to the lower turnout on those nights.

Improving customer service is another of RamRide’s goals.

“Students are our customers,” Berlinberg said. “They are paying for it so we need to make sure they receive good customer service.”

RamRide is also working on the dispatch system to make it more fuel-efficient. They are trying out a semi-fixed route by devoting a certain number of cars strictly to dropping off and picking up in Old Town.

“It helps more people than just students, it also helps the community,” Berlinberg said. “It gets people out of Old Town, which is a huge problem with businesses and police forces.”
The Old Town route was tried out for the first time on Saturday night.

“We had a couple of cars that consistently went to Old Town and I think it was a lot more efficient,” McVey said.

Increasing partnerships within the community is also important to RamRide this year. These partnerships include Responsible Alcohol Retailers (RAR), CSUPD and the Fort Collins Police Department.

RamRide began these partnership efforts this past summer.

“We have a great relationship with CSUPD and Fort Collins Police,” Berlinberg said. “And we are continuing to build that relationship.”

The ultimate goal of RamRide is to keep people safe.

“Marketing education is a new part of the RamRide umbrella,” Berlinberg said. RamRide is looking at partnering with the CSU Health Network to help educate students about making safe choices.

Sophomore Global Tourism major Sydney Jackson-Clockston used RamRide twice during its opening weekend and was impressed by its service.

“It’s definitely helpful for students whether they are under the influence or not,” said Jackson-Clockston. “No one should walk home alone late at night.”

Collegian writer Emily Horn can be reached at news@collegian.com.

970-491-3333
RamRide phone number

2003
when RamRide started

138,031
number of students driven since 2003

22,668
number of students driven last year alone

More than 1,000
number of students driven this weekend

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