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Pilot program to offer safe student transportation begins this month

URide, a pilot program to provide a transportation alternative to students, begins this month at The University of Texas with funding from Parking and Transportation Services.

URide, a pilot program to provide a transportation alternative to students, begins this month at The University of Texas with funding from Parking and Transportation Services.

UT Student Government passed legislation for the uRide program last September. The legislation fast-tracked through the ratification process, skipping committee on its way to winning a high majority vote in UT’s Student Government.

Students will be able to use the uRide phone application for free rides from three places: Riverside, Lake Austin and Far West. The service will be available from midnight to 3 a.m. and there will be a 20 call limit for each night. These details stand only for the pilot program. If the program is successful, it will feature more pick-up locations such as downtown and North Campus as well as expanded times, mostly starting in January.

With these expanded locations will also come a fee similar to a taxi fare. Austin’s general taxi fares are $28, $18 and $17 to West Campus from Lake Austin, Far West and Riverside, respectively.

At the heart of UT’s version of uRide is the initiative to work against drunk driving and drunk driving-related accidents. The program aims to save lives, keeping intoxicated students from driving home as well as pedestrians, from getting hit by drunk drivers.

“It has the potential to save lives,” said Kori Rady, creator of the bill.

Rady told a personal story of his neighbor, who at college was hit and paralyzed by a drunk driver. He aspired to change, spurred by this personal tragedy.

The uRide program boasts trained, experienced drivers who are all military veterans, providing increased opportunity for employment for war veterans.

The uRide program will also be environmentally conscious, as the program uses hybrid/electric cars to pick up students.

Assuming success of the pilot program, students should see uRide in full swing in early 2014.

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