Photo by Ben Keyserling

Good evening, America.

In my never-ending quest to better campus safety and foster a sense of kinship and community at Tech, I, Jack Gelbe, have taken it upon myself to pose as a Stingerette driver for the past few weeks so I can more capably understand and respond to student issues.

I would first like to compliment the Stingerette on its fantastic organization and implementation strategies.

Several students do not know how the Stingerette request system really works, but the process, though intricate, is actually fairly streamlined.

A student places a call, which is immediately routed to our call centers in India. Because these call centers are also used for telemarketing, Sears customer service and for the GTPD blue lights around campus, they always are, understandably, slammed with a very high number of requests.

After basic information about the student’s destination, location and family history is obtained, the data is sent to a random driver, who can choose to accept the request, decline it or, most commonly, ignore it until a later time.

Another great thing about the Stingerette is the quality of the van.

The plastic-cloth lining of the seats gives the student a nostalgic, yet raw longing for simpler days.

The close quarters and cozy seating help foster a sense of community and additionally serves as fantastic exposure therapy for most cases of claustrophobia.

Several students compliment the Stingerette vans for their almost excessive humidity, and I completely agree. There’s no need to carry a water bottle when you can just hydrate by inhaling!

Finally, it would be simply rude not to comment about the reliability, integrity and speed of the vehicles themselves. The Stingerette vans are sleek and debonair and boast a supreme handling rivaling that of the top-of-the-line Razor scooter.

Though the Stingerette is truly a fantastic asset for the Tech community, it does come with its share of issues, especially for the drivers.

The almost-constant stream of pickup requests from students is hard to take seriously as a driver. Quite often, my introspective nighttime drives were rudely interrupted by untimely requests, and it seemed completely unreasonable that these were all legitimate.

Having pretended to be a Stingerette driver, I also need to bring into question the potential for social interaction in the Stingerette.

Think about it. Is it really a good idea to get into a random van in the late hours of the night? There are all kinds of people who can just get in the Stingerette, such as caffeine-overdosing seniors and belligerently drunk freshmen.

My advice? Treat the Stingerette as a luxury service, just as you would a limousine. Sure, it is a glamorous ride around campus, but at the end of the day, is it really worth the social risks?