The Safe Ride Escort program is an alternative form of travel for Binghamton University students who have to walk across campus grounds alone after dark.
“Most people use the service because they are too lazy to walk,” jokes Safe Ride student supervisor Ryan Saluzzi, “but the intent is for it to be a safe ride for students.”
The escort program, which is a free service for all students and faculty, started as a walking escort service and then grew to include driving.
According to Saluzzi, the Safe Ride van is not a taxi and cannot be used to go off campus, but students can call and request a pick-up.
Students can go to any blue light station around campus and use the phone to contact Binghamton’s New York State University Police, who can arrange the service.
The University Police Department, who runs the program, is responsible for purchasing the vans, hiring the students, doing background checks on the students hired and training them in the program and the route.
“It is not there as a taxi cab, but as a viable option for people to use on campus,” explained University police Lt. Madeline Bay. “It is there for people who are afraid of the dark or maybe don’t want to walk alone. It’s all about safety in numbers.”
The service runs from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. and travels on a one-way, 25-minute loop, covering most of the same stops as the blue buses and traveling to other stops on campus as well.
The green van is easy to spot, as it is equipped with reflective stickers and a flashing strobe light, and the van’s route can be found on the program’s Web site, buescorts.wordpress.com, Saluzzi said.
In addition to rides across campus after dark, the van also carries a jumper cable and anyone having car trouble can call for help. According to Saluzzi, if the driver is unable to help, the van is equipped with a radio to contact the University Police Department for further assistance.
The service also offers a walking option for both on-campus and University Downtown Center students.
According to Safe Ride’s Web site, walking escort officers wear a reflective vest clearly marked “Student Escort” and carry a flashlight and a radio.
Escorts on campus will accompany a student when they do not feel safe walking home alone, and the escorts at the UDC will walk with students from the UDC to the parking garage.
The walking service is available on campus from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and at the UDC from 7:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Safe Ride has begun a new advertising approach in order to raise more awareness about the services offered.
Posters can be found around campus displaying contact information and the van route.
Saluzzi has also created a Web site where students can get all the facts about the program.
This Web site, buescorts.wordpress.com, is updated every month with a new fun fact about Safe Ride, and has detailed descriptions of every service the program provides.
The Safe Ride number for both the walking service and the van service is (607) 777-7233.