Designated driving service back on track

A new program will provide a safe way home for students who are unable to drive after a night of partying, said Dave Mincberg, student body vice president.

Alert Cab replaces the now-defunct Sober Ride to transport students who are unable to drive after consuming alcohol. The service is free and available to students with a valid USF student identification card.

Effective tonight, students who are unable to drive home can call 974-SAFE where a dispatcher will ask for their name and location. The dispatcher will then inform Alert Cab, who will send a cab to the location. Drivers have been instructed to take the students directly home and not to another bar, party or club.

The service will run Sunday to Wednesday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

“Keep in mind that the service is provided to students at no cost, but we only ask that the students tip the drivers at the end of their ride,” Mincberg said.

“Student Government began planning for the service after Sober Ride had to be shut down,” Mincberg said. “When Sober Ride had to be shut down, it was really important for us to fill that void.”

Sober Ride was the previous service that offered a safe ride home for students unable to drive after consuming alcohol. Sober Ride had to be shut down in April 2000 due to insurance issues.Mincberg said that one of Student Government’s major concerns is students’ safety.

“(Student Government) deals with many important issues, but nothing is more important than saving lives,” Mincberg said.Funding for the service will be provided by Pepin Distributing Company, Mincberg said. The company has agreed to pick up the fare for the cabs.

“The only cost to the students will be the staffing of an extra dispatcher in the Safe Team dispatch center to handle the volume of extra calls that are expected to come through,” Mincberg said

Sober Ride, the precursor to the service, came at a cost of $47,000 from the Student Government’s Activities and Service fees.

Mincberg said students are asked to voice their feedback about the service.

“We know there are going to be kinks that we need to work out with the service,” said Mincberg. “We want students to contact Student Government with any feedback they have so we may be able to improve the service.”

Mincberg said Student Government has put forth efforts to educate students about the dangers of drinking, cautioning them to drink responsibly.

Mincberg added that the emphasis on student drinking needs to focus on the issue of saving lives.

“(Student Government) understands that students are going to drink, and we need to face the issue in order to learn ways in which to save lives,” said Mincberg.