The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SMU Rides helping students for fourth year in a row

Once considered a lost part of SMU student culture, SMU Rides is back for the fourth year in a row and increasing in popularity.

SMU Rides is an entirely student run organization that partners with Executive Taxi to provide a free cab back to the campus and surrounding areas for SMU students who call. Laura Bradley, a senior biochemistry and math double major, is in charge of the program this year.

Along with a handful of all-student volunteers, she handles the calls that come in and arranges the cab rides. The volunteers, primarily from Alpha Phi Omega and the SMU Service House, work full nights from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“We just want students that don’t feel comfortable riding home with someone else or for some reason if they can’t drive themselves, to have a way to get back to campus and not be scared because Dallas is huge,” Bradley said of the program.

She said that Rides can get between ten and thirty calls in a weekend, and has enjoyed increasing success over the last four years.

“I’m hoping to get up to fifty [calls] a weekend and I think that’s totally possible.”

Awareness of the program has increased over the last few years but Bradley, who has run the program for all but one semester of the last four years, expressed a strong interest in getting word out more consistently amongst the student body.

“We’re thinking right now about more advertising because not enough people know about it yet,” she said. “Now we advertise in the beginning of the semester and we’re looking to have more permanent advertising.”

The program gets funding from both the Student Senate and alcohol awareness education. When a student gets an alcohol violation, the fine that they pay goes into the fund that partially supports SMU Rides, among other things. Bradley said that the Student Senate has expressed interest in increasing funding to the program, an idea she welcomed.

“It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re hopeful that it will. We do have funding, but we don’t have as much as we’d like. We’re hoping to expand that in the future, and let people know that they’re free to volunteer if they wish,” she said.

As for the alcohol awareness aspect of funding, she made clear that preventing drunk driving was only one among many goals of the program.

“Fighting drunken driving is not our only focus but it is something that we think about,” she said. “It is a horrible thing that goes on in Dallas and we don’t want our students becoming a part of that statistic. If that’s the reason why students need a cab, then we’re happy to send a cab.

“The majority of the calls come from bars, that’s not the main purpose of rides, but the majority of them do. The main purpose of rides is for people to know that they have a way to get back. We’re not promoting them to drink, especially if they are underage, but the main thing is that we can get them back where they are supposed to be,” she said.

Students should be aware that other cab companies have tried to play the role of SMU Rides in the past and attempted to coerce payment at the end of the ride. SMU Rides only works through Executive Taxi.

Bradley commented, “I have heard of other cab companies pulling that before, getting them in the cab and making them pay at the end.”

Calling 214-SMU-RIDE (768-7433) will connect a student with a volunteer who will arrange a ride. Students should have their SMU IDs available when the taxi arrives to confirm they have the right cab.

Students who have any questions about the program or who want to volunteer can contact Bradley at [email protected].

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