Safe Ride is an assault-prevention shuttle that was founded in 1985 to address the increasing epidemic of sexual assault, specifically on college campuses, according to Safe Ride Director of Operations Zoë Wong.
One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
“Our increase in ridership over the years makes it clear that campus safety and assault prevention are still tangible issues at the University of Oregon,” Wong said.
Safe Ride started with both men and women as paid staff. However, only women were allowed to drive the vans. Up until 2001, Safe Ride only offered its services to women.
According to its website, Safe Ride’s mission is “to provide inclusive, safe, and accessible alternatives to traveling alone at night.”
Safe Ride is open to all incidental fee-paying University of Oregon students, staff and faculty. It gave over 22,000 rides during the 2016-17 school year. In fall term of 2017, Safe Ride gave rides to 10,819 people.
Its office is located inside the Women’s Center in the EMU. The office is open during office hours, which can be found on its website.
“As a ‘for the students, by the students’ organization, we believe that the advocacy work of our employees and volunteers makes a tangible difference,” Wong said. “Our main goal is to ensure that every incidental fee-payer has safe transportation both on campus and in the surrounding community.”
Safe Ride is funded through incidental fee funds via the ASUO Departments Finance Committee. Safe Ride’s annual budget for the current fiscal year exceeds $250,000. With that money, it operates four vans Sunday through Thursday and six vans on Friday and Saturday.
“One of our biggest constraints is our budget,” Wong said. “An increase in funding would result in parallel increases to the number of vans that we can run and the number of staff that we can employ.”
According to Safe Ride’s website, it’s statistically shown that chances of assault decrease when traveling in groups of four or more. Because of this, Safe Ride extends its services only to groups of three or less.
Safe Ride’s boundaries are marked by the Randy Papé beltline, Pioneer Parkway, 46th Avenue and City View Street.
Riders can use Safe Ride as many times as they can schedule per night; however, they must complete their first ride before scheduling their second. Rides can be scheduled through a voicemail system on the day of the ride request.
Safe Ride operates during the fall and winter term Sunday through Thursday 6 p.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
During the spring term, its operating hours are Sunday through Thursday 7 p.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Over the summer, Safe Ride operates Sunday through Thursday 9 p.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Safe Ride also supports the annual Take Back the Night rally, and is a strong proponent of intersectional feminism, Wong explained.
“We are proud to be a feminist organization and work in close collaboration with the Women’s Center. We believe in equity, inclusion, and intersectional feminism,” Wong said.