ECU initiates saferide program
(Sept. 10, 2003)
East Carolina University students needing late-night transportation can call upon ECU's new escort service, SafeRide. University officials introduced the program last week to help ECU students get home safely, whether they live on-campus or off-campus, ECU patrol operations Capt. Frank Knight said.
"We have always had student patrols giving escorts, but it was limited just to on-campus escorts and it ran through midnight," said Knight.
"Due to the number of assaults off-campus and in the vicinity of campus, we wanted to be able to get students home in a safe manner."
The escort service is offered from 9 p.m. through 3 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sundays. On its first weekend, school officials say 133 ECU students used the service.
"From what the drivers have told me, the students were very positive about this service," said Gray Hodges, ECU's assistant director for club sports and facilities.
"One student said in four years here, this is the best thing he's seen. It is a value to students, as far as safety is concerned." Two SafeRide vans will transport ECU students, staff and faculty to off-campus locations, including homes and public bus stops, within Greenville's city limits, said Knight.
A SafeRide golf cart will provide on campus transportation between Fifth and 10th streets.
SafeRide emerged from the work of IMPACT ECU, a campus-wide committee charged with making ECU safer for students, faculty and staff. ECU police collaborated with University Life and ECU transit leaders to launch the program this year. University grants totaling $108,000 provided the SafeRide vans, the golf cart and personnel costs for the service, said Hodges.
"Our goal is to get students from Point A to Point B in the best, quickest manner and to assist the transit system in doing that," he said.
To request a ride, ECU OneCard holders (students, faculty or staff) may call 328-RIDE (328-7433) or use the blue light phones on campus. To use the service, a caller must present an ECU OneCard to the driver. The caller may have up to one guest.