With students returning to Northwest Missouri State University today for the start of a new fall term, the school is preparing to launch an expanded Safe Ride Home program, which, beginning Friday, will include a shuttle service between campus and the Main Street retail corridor.
In past years, Safe Ride Home has basically operated like a nighttime taxi company, and it's main purpose was to give a lift to students who either felt unsafe walking home in the dark or who might have had too much to drink.
The shuttle, by way of contrast, is more like a bus line and will make regular stops both on campus and along Main Street between 4 p.m. and 2 p.m. each Friday, giving students a chance to visit shops, restaurants, hair salons, pharmacies and grocery stores.
Schedule shuttle stops in addition to those on campus include Fourth and Buchanan near the city parking lot; Fourth and Market; the Mary Mart Shopping Center (until 9 p.m.); shopping complexes at the south end of Main Street (until 8 p.m.); Walmart; and Hy-vee.
According to information posted online by the University Police Department, shuttles will arrive at designated stops every 30 to 40 minutes depending on traffic and rider volume.
On-campus shuttle stops include parking lot 29 next to the Horizon’s West apartment complex; College Park Drive near west 16th Street. The Station (lower level, lot 39); behind the Hudson/Perrin freshman residence complex (lot 10); and lot 12 near Seventh and Walnut.
Passengers must present a valid Bearcat ID card when barding, but will be allowed to accompany a guest. Each shuttle seats 13 people. Bus stops will be marked with the Safe Ride logo.
"The shuttle addition is significant because it allows flexibility for the users of the program," said Monica McCollough, University Police programs manager.
"Our goal is to provide safe and timely transportation for our students in a way that accommodates the level of call volume the program experiences and the style of usage that our students prefer."
Although the shuttle will operate on Fridays only, Safe Ride vans will continue their normal normal hours throughout the school year: Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Thursday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m.; and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Expanded Safe Ride service was made possible through a $10,000 contribution from the Northwest Student Senate as well as a $20,800 grant from the Gladys Rickard Charitable Trust.
Law enforcement statistics show that since its inception in 2004, Safe Ride has reduced the number of harmful driving situations in Maryville, including driving while intoxicated incidents, by 66 percent.
The program is administered by University Police and employs about 20 Northwest students.
Page 2 of 2 - For more information about Safe Ride, visit Northwest Missouri State University Police Department website at ’s University Police website at www.nwmissouri.edu/police.