Maryland's Washington College has now made the student ID card a necessary component of its Safe Ride service in an effort to improve the program through examining frequency of ridership.
As reported by The Elm, an email from Student Affairs was circulated to students informing them that Safe Ride had partnered with the college's department of Risk Management to install ID card readers on Safe Ride vans. The Safe Ride program at Washington College is a free transit service run by students for students. The service provides a safe alternative to get back to campus without having to walk or drive.
The card readers will be used, in part, to record the number of students who leverage the service and better determine Safe Ride’s busy times so that the program can hone its services and improve accessibility. The addition of card readers will require students to scan their ID each time they board, as well as notify drivers of non-student guests when using the service.
The inclusion of the college's Risk Management department will address insurance compliance for the transit service. Safe Ride needs to know who is in the vehicle at all times in the event that something bad or unexpected were to happen.
The inspiration for the Safe Ride overhaul came straight from the top, Washington College president, Kurt Landgraf.
“President Landgraf says that we need to make data-informed decisions. So, if we are asking for increases in budgets or additional services, we have to be able to support it with numbers,” said Candace Wannamaker, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, in an Elm interview. “I’m pretty hopeful that with the readers in place, we’ll be able to provide the data to get them the budget that they need to operate in the way they want to operate.”
Card reader data could affect the service in a few ways, including changing hours of operation or increasing scheduled hours. Other areas of improvement that could benefit from card reader data include additional supports for drivers and funding for things like van maintenance.
Drivers also have a reporting resource, which may revoke a student’s ability to use Safe Ride for students who either misbehave or otherwise abuse the service. Despite the implementation of card readers on each Safe Ride van, college officials stress that students who forget their campus card will not be denied a ride.