Officials searching for safe rides alternatives after taxi closure


Bill Amos, Staff Writer

With limited taxi services in the Wilkes-Barre area, Wilkes University’s Student Affairs is currently seeking to find a replacement for their Safe Ride program, established in the early 1990’s, as a means of providing safe transportation to Wilkes Students.

“The focus was on alcohol education and what we wanted to provide was a safe way for students who were off campus to return to campus if they were accompanied by someone who was driving and was intoxicated or if you as a driver got intoxicated and shouldn’t be driving back to campus,” explains Dr. Mark Allen, Dean of Students at Wilkes.

Wilkes had contracted Posten Taxi to participate in taking students from any particular location within a certain radius in relation to the campus and bring them back safely.

Adela Torres, a sophomore nursing major, explains that she has used the program and likes it.  “I always feel like they’re very nice and courteous to you no matter what your situation.”   Adela explains that she feels that the program is beneficial to students who may have had a late night out or maybe had a bit to drink and need to find a ride home.

Posten has recently gone out of business, leaving Wilkes with limited options for the Safe Ride program.

Dr. Allen explained that Burgit’s City Taxi on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre had been contacted to continue Safe Ride, but Wilkes is also looking into other options.

“It was a good convenience for our students.  Not all colleges and universities provide any service like this to their students,” says Dr. Allen.  “We continue to look at creative ways to provide some kind of service, but we have yet to finalize an alternative plan.”

Jeff Jurosky, also a nursing major at Wilkes, had a different opinion of the program.  “It seems like a nice idea but it also seems like a nice way to get in trouble.”  He explains, in his opinion, that it seems like a loophole for younger members of the student body. “If you’re a freshman and you’ve been out drinking then you can get into trouble.  I feel like, once you’re older you kind of have friends there who aren’t drinking who can give you a ride home.”

“I want folks to know that we look for a suitable replacement for the program because we believe in it,” Dr. Allen said. “I would also encourage students when it comes to alcohol use off-campus, to always be responsible in terms to drinking and making good judgment with driving with people who have not been drinking, but the reality of the matter is it happens and this was a program to safeguard against it.”