The recent uptick in campus crime has put a lot of scrutiny on campus services, including the Stingerette. Though the Stingerette service is advertised to students and parents as a safety feature, problems with the service’s policies render it entirely ineffective for that purpose.
The most common complaint of students is general frustration with the quality of service. Long wait times, a difficult-to-navigate reservation system and drivers who don’t phone upon arrival lead students to get frustrated and just walk home. An increase in the number of drivers and an overhaul of both reservation and routing systems is necessary.
Another flaw in the system is the service’s policy to deny rides to students traveling a short distance or those who are intoxicated. The first is troubling because the safety of a route isn’t solely dependent on its length. Rides from the Library to North Ave. are often rejected by Stingerette operators, yet no student would argue that walking down North Ave. at 2 a.m. is safe. Similarly, denying rides to intoxicated students does nothing to help safety on campus. While denying rides to belligerent drunks makes sense, punishing students smart enough to not attempt driving home drunk from a party makes no sense whatsoever.
Both problems could be solved by giving rides to all non-violent students—regardless of intoxication or route home—but requiring passengers to swipe their ID. This way, students can get home, but those who abuse the system with short rides can be penalized and intoxicated students who get sick in the van can be charged cleaning fees if necessary.
It is obvious that changes like this would require additional funding, but if students can see marked improvements to the service, it would certainly be worth it. Many students have written the service off as useless, so a fee increase would be warranted if it results in a useful service.