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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

We need to hit the gas on finding a SafeRide alternative


Walking, biking and hitching rides from friends; these are the methods of transportation left for students. 

At the beginning of the semester, the SafeRide program ended.

This program, hosted by the UNK Health Promotion office and Kearney Cab Company, offered free rides to students. Whether they were intoxicated or just didn’t want to walk alone, SafeRide would pick up a student anywhere.

There needs to be a new transportation system created for students quickly. It also needs to be more secure than SafeRide was. 

SafeRide ended because the number of students using the program during the summer decreased, and the Kearney Cab Company went out of business. 

According to NTV News, a Kearney cab driver sexually assaulted a woman on July 22. The woman called the cab service to have a driver pick her up from her job and take her to another place in Kearney. The assailant, Michael Schelling, instead took her to Minden where the assault happened. 

This is the same Kearney Cab Company that UNK partnered with for the SafeRide program. 

When SafeRide was abolished, the Health Promotion office never issued an announcement or sent out a campus-wide email. People only learned about this change through the grapevine of conversations.

Now international students, those without cars and those who have limited budgets are left without complementary transportation from UNK. 

Electric scooters were available for students, but those are not on campus anymore. The city of Kearney provides a public RYDE Transit bus for citizens in Buffalo County, but this service is not monitored by the university. 

A small number of Uber and Lyft drivers work in Kearney, but once again, the university isn’t working with the companies. By using these services, students would be paying out of pocket.

As a solution, UNK could partner with the RYDE Transit bus in Kearney. Students could be given punch cards for free bus rides every semester. The university could also conduct background checks and examine driving records from the bus drivers. 

This arrangement would include a public setting, where students would feel safer. It would also promote business for the RYDE transit bus. 

Another option could be creating a student carpool program. Students with cars could go through training to drive others to local areas. Dashcams could ensure location tracking and monitoring.

Lastly, a safety app could be created for Lyft or Ubers. The app could be used as a panic button for when students feel unsafe during a ride. They could hold down the button until they reach safety, or release it, which would notify UNK PD of their location. 

Students need a reliable form of transportation provided by UNK. Not all students can afford cars or gas. The Antelope staff believes that UNK can work around this fork in the road to provide students with improved transportation.

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