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Safe Ride Offers Free Transport to Reduce DUIs

The Students for a Safe Ride Organization at Ole Miss is seeing success in their one-year-old bus system that carries students from campus to the square on weekends.
Safe Ride BusSafe Ride operates Thursday and Friday from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. and Saturday from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Two buses make routine stops along Sorority Row, Fraternity Row, most of the Ole Miss dormitories and University Trails, the first off campus route for Safe Ride.
Gabriella Gonzaba, an education major at Ole Miss and president of Students for a Safe Ride, said she is excited to see so many students on the Safe Ride buses. Gonzaba said having a safe ride home from the square is important, and will help Ole Miss remain one of the top safest schools in the country.
“The Oxford and University Police Departments seem to be behind us with this,” Gonzaba said. “I think Safe Ride will help decrease the DUI numbers.”
According to the Oxford public records, the city is seeing a constant growth. From 2010 until 2013 records, the city saw a 10.5 percent increase in population. The University of Mississippi is also reporting a large increase in students reporting enrollment at just over 22,000 for the fall 2014 semester.
When the Students for a Safe Ride Organization began running buses in November of 2013, they decided to use a similar route that Rebel Rides used previously and add one more pick up location for growing student body that live off-campus. The stop at University Trails is the first off-campus route for Safe Ride.

Gabriella Gonzaba, president of Students for Safe Ride
Gabriella Gonzaba, president of Students for Safe Ride

“So far we have two, insured buses running routes, and we hope to raise enough money in the future to have more off-campus routes,” Gonzaba said.
Dazz Gipson, a liberal arts major, is one of the many Ole Miss students that does not live near a Safe Ride bus route. Gipson said he likes going out to eat on the square and having fun and is in favor of Safe Ride.
“I think it’s actually a great idea,” Gipson said. “Some people don’t have the vehicle access that some other have, but for people with a vehicle, it will catch on.”Apartment complexes around Oxford like the Hub and the Retreat have their own buses to take residents around, but there are a lot more opportunities at more complexes that the Students for a Safe Ride would like to include in routes.
The student-led organization is 75 percent funded by the university right now, but Gonzaba assures that the university is going to decrease their funding every year.
“It takes $75,000 a year for the Safe Ride buses to run,” Gonzaba said.
Next year the university will only fund 50 percent of the cost for Safe Ride following a 25 percent decrease the next year. Students for a Safe Ride are already thinking of ideas to raise money for the bus system. Gipson said even though there is not a route by his apartment yet, he would still support fundraisers for Students for a Safe Ride because it is a great option for students that do have access to it. Gonzaba hopes to start fundraising this upcoming spring.
Safe Ride Bus 2“A lot of student pick up areas are mainly from Fraternity Row and Sorority Row areas, so those stops are really heavily populated,” Gonzaba said. “We could probably get a good increase of fundraisers from the Greek organizations.”
The Safe Ride bus is free to any undergraduate or graduate student at Ole Miss as long as they present their student ID upon stepping onto the bus. Safe Ride runs every weekend except for the week of finals, the weekends before and after Thanksgiving, and the Christmas holidays.
Follow Safe Ride on Facebook and Twitter.
Emily Newton is HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at esnewto1@go.olemiss.edu.

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