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University Of Utah Launches Rideshare Program For Student Safety

(Steve Griffin/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A new rideshare program called “SafeRide” will allow University of Utah students, faculty and staff to request a safe mode of campus transportation at night.

School officials unveiled the new program Thursday, a week after announcing nearly a million dollars in investments towards campus safety as a result of the tragic murder of student-athlete Lauren McCluskey in October 2018.

The program operates much like other rideshare programs such as Uber and Lyft, but officials said it is designed to be used by university community members who do not feel safe walking to a campus destination at night.

It was not intended to replace public transportation or other rideshare programs.

“I’m very excited for this,” said Chad Larsen, who developed the program with university’s Commuter Services department. “I think our students will feel more comfortable contacting our drivers. The nice element of this is you can stay inside and be safe until we notify you and then you can come out.”

Commuter Services executive director Alma Allred said they already handle transportation of more than 45,000 people a week with all their bus and shuttle services for students, employees and faculty.

“This does reduce risk,” Allred said. “I think it’s impossible to make sure that everybody is always safe, but you can increase the level of security and their feeling of their security.”

The service operates through an app called TapRide and is only for students and employees. Rides run from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and users must stay on campus or campus housing. Those in the Research Park area of campus can request a ride through the hospital on-demand shuttle service.

The service has two vans and six drivers.

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