The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 9th

New Safe Ride Program Now in Effect

Student government instituted the Safe Ride program, which began its pilot phase Monday, to curb drunk driving and to keep students safe, said Anup Dashputre, chairman of student services for student government.

The program includes a revised Point-2-Point bus route and the distribution of business cards containing taxi and P2P information to Chapel Hill bars and clubs.

The new P2P route will include two new stops on Franklin Street -- one on the corner of Franklin and Henderson streets and one in front of Varsity Theatre.

Dashputre said the old route was flawed because the P2P was neglecting the main part of Franklin Street.

The business cards will be displayed in prominent locations at the bars and clubs on East Franklin and Rosemary streets.

"We just gave it to the bars along the new P2P route, but the long-term goal is to get it to every bar and club in Chapel Hill," Dashputre said.

Bennett LaPrade, owner of Pantana Bob's on West Rosemary Street, said his business received the cards and placed them next to the telephone.

LaPrade said that while some students might opt not to utilize the program, he hopes it will help them make better choices. "Some people are going to be hardheaded, but you can offer it," he said.

The program is not just for people who have been drinking, LaPrade added. "I'm concerned about anyone I see walking around late at night."

Dashputre also mentioned the program's intent to provide a safer alternative to walking alone downtown and through campus. "A lot of people don't realize that the majority of holdups occur on North Campus, especially along Raleigh Street and near (Coker) Arboretum," he said.

In the future, Dashputre said he plans to extend the program to include educational programs about drunk driving.

"Everybody's aware that you shouldn't drink and drive," he said. "But this would make them more aware of the services available on campus to help you avoid that situation."

Though currently in its pilot phase, the Safe Ride program will be officially implemented in full force on the first day of the fall 2002 semester. Dashputre said that during this pilot time frame, he will actively seek student feedback and make any necessary changes.

He said he is already considering adding a reverse P2P route or extending the territory that the P2P currently covers.

After working 15 to 20 hours a week with his committee since Feb. 1 to create this program, Dashputre said he is anxious for student response.

"Now really is the time where we want to fine-tune everything."

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