Prior to COVID-19, the University of Oregon offered three different ride services for students: the Campus Shuttle, Safe Ride and Designated Driver Service. However, in order to best accommodate new COVID-19 circumstances, these three have consolidated into one service: Duck Rides.
“I think this switch was just a COVID thing,” Kira Cadiz, a junior at UO and driver for Safe Ride said. “Safe Ride, DDS and Campus Shuttle all had different mottos, so now it’s definitely different.”
Prior to the change, Safe Ride scheduled rides by appointment, while Campus Shuttle operated on a fixed-route. DDS was a free shuttle service with the mission to offer an alternative option to students who may endanger themselves on the road.
Cadiz said that this year the hours have changed with all drivers moving to Duck Rides; the service offers rides until 10:30 p.m. every day. Last year, she said they drove from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends, and until 12 a.m. on weekdays.
UO student Hayden Grow worked for DDS prior to Duck Rides. He said DDS was similar to Uber, but with more restrictions.
Grow said the drivers are only allowed to take one to two people in the cars, and they are only allowed to drive to and pick up from essential businesses or houses.
“A lot of people had quit working or graduated anyways, so I like it being all under one system now,” Grow said. “I think it makes more sense.”
UO student Megan Lough worked for Safe Ride since winter 2020, and said that there have been a lot of adaptations made in response to COVID-19.
Lough said that drivers wear masks at all times and stand in taped off areas in the rooms where they wait for calls. There is a plastic separator in the car, and the AC is required to be on high constantly.
“There’s also a large Ghostbuster-like cleaning backpack that’s used at the end of the night,” Lough said.
Cadiz said that drivers are not allowed to switch who they drive with for the night, and they are required to pick up essential workers first.
Lough said she thinks that Safe Ride, DDS and Campus Shuttle will go back to being separate organizations after COVID-19 is over, but she is not sure.
In the meantime, Lough and Grow both said that not very many students have taken advantage of the service. They said that most of the people taking rides are the same people that typically take rides.
“I don’t think that many people know about it,” Lough said.
Duck Rides has been attempting to make students more aware that a ride service still exists through Instagram.
As of right now, Duck Rides can take appointments in advance, or students can call for an immediate pickup. Depending on how busy the night is, drivers are available to pick up students without an appointment in advance. Students can call any time during the day to schedule a specific pick-up time for that night.