Safe Rides back again this fall

Program is seeking new volunteers for drivers, dispatchers



Jarrick Wick discusses the return of the Cougar Safe Rides, formerly know as Women’s Transit, Friday Wilson-Short Hall.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

Cougar Safe Rides kicked off its fall season of operations Sept. 13.

The program, previously known as Women’s Transit, offers rides to everyone Thursday nights from 8 p.m. to midnight, as well as Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

The name change aims to encourage more people of different gender identities to take advantage of the program’s services, said Jarrick Wick, an intern at the Women’s Resource Center.

“The old name, we found, tended to discourage certain people from using us because they made assumptions of what kinds of people we gave rides to,” Wick said. “We try not to discriminate our passengers and the new name made that clearer.”

On their first night open, volunteers gave about 16 people rides. That is a good start for the program, Wick said.

“Mostly what we are trying to do is grow the program, so we’re looking for more volunteers and looking to make more people in the community aware of what we do,” Wick said. “We want to make sure [students] can use us when they should.”

Students can call or text WSU-267-SAFE to receive a free and safe ride home. In the past drivers only gave rides to one person at a time, but now they can transport up to three passengers at once.

Those interested in volunteering for Cougar Safe Rides can apply on the website, In-person training, a background check and a vehicle motor record check are required for volunteer drivers.

“Some people without licenses even volunteer because we need dispatchers too,” Wick said.

Often, would-be volunteers assume they need their own car to help, but that is not the case. Cougar Safe Rides has university-provided vehicles, Wick said.

“We would definitely take any volunteers,” Wick said. “We need lots more.”