Every major university in Kansas – including Wichita State – has programs providing rides home for students who have had too much to drink on a night out.
WSU’s Shocker Safe Ride program provides rides home throughout most of Wichita – not just neighborhoods close to campus. Free rides are available between 119th Street West and 127th Street East and between 45th Street North and 47th Street South.
More and more students are using Shocker Safe Ride, said Mark Green, prevention services coordinator for WSU. The program has averaged about 320 rides a month for more than a year now.
“We know that we are a commuter school and that a very small percentage of our students are on campus,” Green said Tuesday. “The rest are spread out all over. We want our students to use it.”
His comments came as athletic department officials continue to investigate the weekend arrest of Shocker basketball player Conner Frankamp. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and traffic offenses early Sunday morning at Kellogg and Maize Road.
University officials remained mum about the arrest on Tuesday. But they were happy to discuss the Shocker Safe Ride program, which not only provides a ride home for a WSU student and any companions, it drives the student’s vehicle home as well if a reservation has been made in advance. The rides go only to residential addresses, not to another bar.
And while the rides are confidential, Green said, they are not anonymous.
“If you’re doing something illegal, that can be reported,” he said.
The program has been touted at student orientations, on social media and at campus activities that draw large crowds, he said.
“We’ve kind of reached the threshold,” Green said. “Everyone that needs to know about it knows about it.”
Shocker Safe Ride contracts with Designated Drivers of Kansas. The program operates daily from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. People can call ahead at 316-978-7433 to reserve a ride starting at noon on weekends and 7 p.m. on weeknights.
Riders must have their Shocker ID and a debit or credit card. And be forewarned: There’s a $15 charge to your credit or debit card for no-shows and for reservations canceled less than an hour from the requested time. Additional stops may also incur additional fees.
Folks who live outside the “free ride” zone can still use the program, Green said. But there’s a $2-a-mile fee for each mile outside the designated boundaries.
Kansas, Kansas State, Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Washburn and Pittsburg State all have versions of the safe ride program. That’s also true of most universities around the country, Green said.
“It’s a pretty common practice,” he said.
Links to Safe Ride programs at Kansas universities:
Fort Hays State: http://www.fhsu.edu/kellycenter/dawn/Safe-Ride/
University of Kansas: http://saferide.ku.edu/
Kansas State: http://www.k-state.edu/osas/saferide.htm
Wichita State: http://webs.wichita.edu/?u=POLICE&p=/safe_ride/