Safe Ride enhancements aim to increase campus safety

The Safe Ride vehicle operates daily from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. and is driven by campus police and safety staff, such as George Kusber. Photos by Susan Griffith.

The university’s police department has expanded its successful Safe Ride initiative to improve response times and encourage greater use of the program.

Launched in 2009, Safe Ride provides transportation to students, staff and faculty from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. each day. Campus police and safety staff drive the vehicles, which are dispatched through the department.  As the service became better known over time, ridership increased, which in turn extended response times. Because safety is a top university priority, President Barbara R. Snyder this spring allocated funds from her office to enable the department to add a third vehicle to the program.

In the first two weeks with the third vehicle, Safe Ride has seen its highest usage ever while still marking almost record-speed response times.

The first week with three vehicles (March 25-31), drivers responded to 403 calls for transport in an average of 5.66 minutes. Prior to the addition of the third vehicle, the most responses in one week was 397, with an average of 8.65 minutes per response. The previous fastest average response time was 5.53 minutes, but it occurred on a week when drivers responded to just 158 calls.

“We almost tripled the number of transports and were able to nearly maintain the fastest response time,” noted Dick Jamieson, vice president of campus services. “Adding a third driver will not only quicken response times; it also will help ensure that more students are able to travel safely at night.”

In another effort to promote student safety by increasing ridership, the Office of Emergency Management is in the process of implementing RideCell technology on campus, thanks to funding from a USG Student Life Improvement Grant and campus services. RideCell, a popular service on college campuses across the country, would make the Safe Ride experience easier and more efficient by providing a website and smartphone application where individuals can request Safe Ride. Through this system, users also can track where their driver is and receive notification when the driver is nearby.

In addition, RideCell would automate the dispatching of a driver, which would get drivers on their route to pick up students faster.

Jamieson said RideCell should be fully functional by the start of next school year.

“By implementing RideCell and adding another Safe Ride vehicle, we are being proactive in our efforts to keep students safe,” Jamieson said. “These enhancements reinforce our commitment to providing a safe campus for everyone.”

Safe Ride runs from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., seven nights a week. The service area for the program extends north to Wade Park Boulevard; east to Coltman Road/the East 120th Street RTA station; west to East 101st Street/Mt. Sinai parking garage; and south to the intersections of Mayfield and Kenilworth Roads and Cedar and Fairmount Roads in Cleveland Heights.

Please note: Safe Ride vans do not travel to the Coventry Road business district; individuals should instead use the shuttle bus that specifically serves this area.

To request Safe Ride transportation, call 368.3000. Callers will need to provide their name, location and final destination.

For shuttle buses, call 216.791.6226 or visit

In case of an emergency, contact Case Western Reserve University police at 368.3333.