Guest viewpoint: Why Safe Ride and Designated Driver Shuttle should not be merged
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Elections always serve as a time for new ideas to form and take hold to help our student body grow. This year, one of those ideas is to combine the Safe Ride and Designated Driver Shuttle services into one program, rather than two separate programs.
DDS and Safe Ride are two similar programs that provide a great deal of service to the student body. Many students often confuse the two services, and frequently call one service by the other name, yet they do provide different services. Both programs provide free rides home to students around the Eugene area, and both work to promote safer transportation at night. When it comes to purpose and operations, they stand apart.
Safe Ride’s mission is to prevent assault on students in the Eugene area by providing rides for students who are at risk at night if they were to walk. DDS exists to keep roads safe by providing free rides home to students so that they have an alternative to driving while intoxicated.
These services have different hours of operation, different types of vehicles, different maintenance and leadership needs and different policies based on ridership, employee function and general daily operations. These differences have arisen due to the needs of these two programs to provide the best services to the student body as they can, with their different missions and functionality.
The idea that these two programs should be combined is fed through the notion that this will ultimately save students money and will still provide the same level of service. When you take a deeper look, this just isn’t the case.
The budgets of both programs cover basic operating expenses such as fuel, maintenance, personnel and advertising costs. The expense of fuel, maintenance and operational staff for the total of nine vans that DDS and Safe Ride operate will not decrease under a merger. The only savings that can be listed within the proposal is that in the stipends of the leadership of the programs.
Each program has two co-directors, and one proposal for merging the programs is that there would only be three co-directors for the combined program. This would incur a savings of only a few thousand dollars per year. And what is the result?
A combination of two programs that have different methods for operation, under one set of leadership that would have to be more focused on how to manage two separate entities under one budget, and less focused on making sure that the programs work as hard as they possibly can for you.
The argument that combining these two programs can increase efficiency in their ability to serve students also does not make sense. Both programs have already begun taking steps to increase efficiency in the amount of rides they can give. Combining Safe Ride and DDS into one program gives neither program any new tools to work with that would increase ride capacity they do not already have.
We, as the leadership and employees of Safe Ride and the Designated Driver Shuttle, do not believe that merging our two programs will better serve the student body, or that any potential savings in the budgeting process would come close to outweighing the cost to services that the merger would create.
Kristen Craig, Designated Driver Shuttle Director of Scheduling and Communications
Rilee Dockins, Safe Ride Director of Scheduling
Zoë Wong, Safe Ride Director of Finance
Lydia Frazer, Safe Ride
Laura Stentz, Safe Ride
Josie Imrie, Safe Ride
Monica Nunan, Safe Ride
Annalee Nock, DDS
Francis Howitt, DDS
Tori Hyham, DDS
Miles Sisk, DDS
Mariah Victor, DDS
Rachel Parker, DDS
Allie Sweeney, DDS
Cindy Ocampo, DDS
Sam Malenosky, DDS
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