SafeRides in Short Supply of Licensed Drivers for 2012-13 Year
Ellie Mann '13, Business Manager
May 25, 2012 • 62 views
Filed under News
It’s a busy Saturday night in December. There are two dispatchers and four navigators ready for duty at the Christ and Holy Trinity Church, the SafeRides base. However, there are only two drivers. The SafeRides phone is ringing non-stop, but the waits may be longer due to the lack of drivers.
While Julie Mombello, the director of Westport’s SafeRides organization, is grateful to all who volunteered and feels that SafeRides has had a good year so far, she also says there have been a couple nights with only two working cars. This results in longer waits and “frustrated students.” Frustrated students may be tempted into finding an alternate and potentially dangerous ride home, she said.
Mombello believes that the best way to improve this situation is to make sure that all of the volunteers know that once they have had their driver’s license for four months, they are eligible to drive for SafeRides.
While she does not want to discourage volunteers from working because she realizes that they will be eligible to drive one day, in order to make sure that every non-driver has the chance to work, a limit has been set on the number of times a non-driver can sign up to work at a time. This number is two.
There will be another training session in June in which new volunteers can sign up to work in Sept. and Mombello encourages students to sign up.
Mombello also encourages people that the process for becoming a driver is easy. A student simply needs parent consent and then must fill out the basic SafeRides application. If a student is already a member of SafeRides, no extra fee is due.
Danielle Honigstein ’13, a member of the SafeRides Board, believes that part of the reason why it is difficult to find drivers is that as students get older, they are busier with activities on Saturday nights that they do not want to miss out on.
Upperclassmen are more likely to be doing something from 9:30-1:30 at night than freshmen and sophomores are,” Honigstein said. “They don’t want to miss their social events to volunteer for SafeRides.”
Will Haskell ’14, another member of the SafeRides board, agrees with Honigstein. “Most juniors and seniors are not willing to give up time during their weekend to volunteer for a great cause.”
Board member, Julia Tziolis ’13, encourages more licensed drivers to sign up with friends. “There have been times where it has been hard to fill up spots. But, because we do allow people to sign up in pairs, now people do not have to work with someone that they do not know. There is really no excuse not to drive.”
The SafeRides Board plans on addressing this issues for next year and Haskell feels that in order to do this, SafeRides should be publicized to generate more interest in volunteering.
“I don’t think that people realize how fun and easy SafeRides really is,” Haskell said. “By next year, I want to dispel the rumors that ‘people throw up in cars’ because that is completely ridiculous and distracts people from comprehending our goal.”
While SafeRides relies on drivers and non-drivers equally, and it has been difficult at times to get drivers to work, the organization is running smoothly and is looking forward to a successful end of the school year.