RamSafe not so safe, some students say

Illustration by Madison Hall
Illustration by Madison Hall

RamSafe, VCU’s free night bus program, has received significant complaints over wait times following changes to their system.

RamSafe upgraded to ‘TapRide’ in December of last year, a system including enhanced bus driver tracking and estimated arrival times. TapRide uses an algorithm to anticipate real-time pickup adjustments.

RamSafe drivers must pick up students in the order rides are requested, Parking and Transportation spokesperson Jonsette Colloway said.

“All requests are assigned automatically through the TapRide system, using an algorithm,” Colloway said. “This tool accounts for seat availability, ADA/bike rack accommodations and optimal travel routes for each available vehicle.”

Sarah Brennan, a sophomore, said she has had several experiences waiting for RamSafe in an unsafe situation.

“RamSafe was an extra 25 minutes late — my phone died because of this,” Brennan said. “With how much I pay to attend (this school), this system should be more thoroughly worked through.”

After requesting a ride, students are put on a queue for a driver to claim. Brennan said this aspect of RamSafe has not gone according to plan.

“The idea of the queue is good but it has not gone well,” Brennan said. “No matter what, getting assigned takes at least 15-20 minutes alone.”

Students have also expressed concerns about the ride itself.

“Sometimes there are good drivers but some drivers drive like maniacs,” said freshman Dylan Garcia. “They just drive fast and I’ve seen them run red lights.”

Colloway said the department is actively working to make adjustments to RamSafe to improve students’ experiences. This includes hiring additional drivers and reexamining their staffing levels and scheduling.

“Safety is our top priority, and each complaint is taken seriously,” Colloway said. “Riders with safety concerns are encouraged to report this information.”

To ensure RamSafe is improved and students’ accommodations are met, Brennan has started a petition with more than 300 signatures.

Zobia Nayyar, Contributing Writer

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