Although the NightHawk Safety Escort Patrol is offering people a safe ride home, it’s been leaving a lot of them out in the cold.
After calling for a pickup, most people have to wait outside in the dark for their ride to arrive, which may defeat a bit of the point. More often than not, by the time the shuttle arrives the student could have walked to his or her destination several times over. To address the problem, the NightHawk Safety Escort Patrol will be adding a text message component to its services starting March 3.
Seattle University sent out an Official Communications email on Tuesday to announce the new program to its students.
Students can call 206.398.HAWK in order to request a shuttle to pick them up. With the new program, the caller then provides a cell phone number, and will receive a text message letting them know that the escort is en route. The user can then wait inside, safe and warm.
It may also decrease wait times, as the email stated, “This will also reduce the time wasted in driving to people who do not show up for their rides or have made other choices.”
The idea came from a meeting between the Department of Campus Public Safety and a student government representative to discuss enhanced safety features for the NightHawk Service.
“SGSU stated that there was a concern from students that they have to wait outside for the NightHawk for an extended period of time during hours of darkness and high volume calls for service,” said Crime Prevention Officer Dominique Maryanski. Maryanski has been tasked with implementing the new program.
The Seattle U administration has given approval for the equipment needed for the program, as well as an extra student dispatch to operate it.
“We are currently hiring the needed [staff], and training procedures are being updated to include the new programming. I anticipate we will be fully functional by beginning of spring quarter,” Maryanski said.
The NightHawk Service runs from 6 p.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, service is extended until 2 a.m. The range is only six blocks from campus in order to cover distances that students might otherwise walk.
Although the text alert program will alleviate some problems that NightHawk riders have faced in the past, Maryanski still advises students not to call at the last minute. Students who have used the NightHawk service in the past have said that they had to wait about 15 minutes to be picked up.
“We continue to ask our community members to plan ahead when making their requests for the NightHawk Service, as we experienced over 5,000 calls for service during fall quarter,” Maryanski said.
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