University of Georgia’s Student Government Association held a meeting last week with several community leaders to discuss nighttime transit on and around campus.
The chief of University of Georgia Police, the directors of UGA Parking Services and the Athens Transit Authority, and the leaders of Greek Life were among the groups in attendance.
As reported in the Red & Black, Carmen Fosky, SGA’s chief of staff, discussed UGA's late night transportation status compared to other public universities, such as Georgia Tech’s Stingerette, Georgia Southern’s ShuttleGUS, and the University of Florida's SNAP program. Fosky suggested such initiatives being implemented at UGA.
Michael Goltzer, the quality specialist for UGA Parking Services, said students underuse overnight bus routes and the university had previously executed nighttime services from the UGA bus system to Designated Dawgs, Athens Transit and other methods such as Uber and the GOTCHA Ride service.
Robert Holden, the associate vice president for Auxillary Services at the university, recommended the GOTCHA service because it’s free.
The GOTCHA program, which launched last fall, was sponsored by SGA to serve the campus but Fosky
said she and others had concerns about their reliability.
"What we've seen is that it's a very unreliable service. We’ve had SGA members test it.... Nobody picks up the phone," she told the newspaper. "If we go and try and see where the vehicles are, they've been sitting in the Tate Deck for two, three weeks.”
Fosky said staffing issues with escort services could be fixed by making drivers full-time employees with salaries and benefits, as well as incentivizing volunteers.
The idea of a shuttle service was an item on former SGA president Johnelle Simpson's 2015 executive election ticket.
"Just that initial seed that was planted, the desire for a walking escort system, led to what we have now, which is a security transportation system," Simpson said in a previous Red & Black article in regards to the shuttle trial run.
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