Updated: Feb 20
After Salisbury University announced Saferide services would be unavailable to students during the spring semester due to COVID-19, students have been forced to resort to alternative forms of transportation to safely return to their homes and apartments late at night.
Sabrina Tarver, a senior history major at the university, said she is concerned over the potential consequences of canceling the service as she has frequently witnessed younger SU students using the service to get back to their dorms on weekends.
“This is a college town [so] it is an issue of safety not having the service available,” Tarver said. “Letting people have the ability to get home without any issues and not having to worry about transportation should be a necessity.”
Sophomore Cameron Heard discussed his frequent use of the free transportation service during weekends of his freshman year to get back to his dorm safely.
“My freshman year, I used Saferide every weekend, but now I either have to ask friends or walk because even Ubers are hard to come by now with COVID-19,” Heard said. “It is even more of a burden to find a way home late at night than it has been in the past.”
Other students have also used the organization’s free form of transportation regularly, including senior Shameere Stroman.
Stroman said she has used Saferide while living in off-campus housing at The Flatts after late-night student study sessions at the library.
“I used to use it quite often, but this semester, without the option of Saferide, I either walked home or asked a friend for a ride,” Stroman said. “Most of the time I had to walk because it was too late at night and my friends were asleep,” said Stroman.
Saferide has been a free and anonymous form of transportation available to students since its creation in 1993, until the organization shut down last fall after deciding that SU’s COVID-19 guidelines significantly impeded its ability to operate during the weekends.
The organization’s Director of Employee Relations and Co-Director of Finance and Operations Mia Coyle stated that the biggest concern for offering Saferide’s services during COVID-19 was contact tracing.
“We did not think it was likely that Salisbury University would let us [operate] with contact tracing and [having] too many people get in our vehicles without our control,” Coyle said. “If we were to operate, we would only be able to have two to three people in a van at a time and would have to get everyone’s information and Gull Card, thereby breaking the students’ anonymity.”
While there are no guarantees that Saferide will be up and running for the fall semester, the service may return if COVID-19 cases are significantly reduced or eliminated in the coming months.
By JACK FIECHTNER
Featured image courtesy of Geo TV.