Negotiations being made for reinstatement of Safe Rides program

Christine Lee, News Editor

Student Affairs is in the process of negotiating with Wilkes-Barre’s only taxi cab company to allow the Safe Rides program to return as a service to students.

In June, Posten Taxi, Wilkes’ longtime Safe Rides provider, announced it was closing after 100 years in service. Now, according to Dean of Student Affairs Mark Allen, an agreement is in the works for Burgit’s City Taxi, Wilkes-Barre’s only cab company, to provide free rides for students under the influence of alcohol or faced with riding in a vehicle operated by someone under the influence of alcohol.

“They were re-organizing, re-structuring and trying to figure out some of those contractural agreements the previous cab company had and so that took a little bit of time,” Allen said.

Allen noted that an agreement has been forwarded to Burgit’s, which they are currently reviewing. He said as soon as the signed agreement is returned to Student Affairs, the program will be re-launched.

Allen is hoping the program will come back prior to the end of the semester but by the next semester at the earliest. However, he said if the partnership with Burgit’s doesn’t work out, Student Affairs is looking into an alternative plan involving a cab company starting up in Kingston which Allen said has expressed interest in participating in the Safe Rides program.

Senior English major Catelyn Sofio said the program is important for students who live both on and off-campus.

“I think it’s really important that it comes back to campus,” Sofio said. “Without the program, students are missing out on a very crucial aspect of our Public Safety program on campus and we really need it to ensure the safety of all students.”

Sophomore pre-pharmacy major Felicia Snyder thinks the program is necessary for student safety.

“There’s been a lot of crime lately near the school and it makes me nervous whenever one of us has to go out and go places, so I definitely feel like it’d be a lot more secure if they brought it back,” Snyder said.

Allen said it is important the program is reinstated because of the services it provided to students affected by alcohol. In the meantime, he advises students to take advantage of the services offered by the office of Public Safety.

“Public Safety still provides either escorts or vehicle transportation so that exhists in and around the perimeter of campus. Short of that, it’s just a matter of educating students that if they are going off campus a distance away that they think about not just getting there but a safe way of getting home,” Allen said.