Wednesday, September 18

USAC proposes app integration for on-demand CSO van service

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated the students who were mugged were members of Kappa Delta.

Undergraduate student government leaders are working to introduce an app that would allow students to request a ride home in the evening.

USAC facilities commissioner Sandra Rhee proposed that Community Service Officer administrators restructure the service to allow students to order the vans through an app. Rhee said students would be able to log into the TapRide app with their UCLA account to request community service officer evening vans to pick them up around campus.

The CSO evening van service provides free transportation from three on-campus locations and two Westwood locations every 15 to 20 minutes Monday through Thursday.

[Related: CSO van service adjusts route flexibility]

The committee’s proposal would require the vans to pick up students on-demand instead of from designated stops, said Zahra Hajee, director of safety for the commission. The app would show how far away the CSO vehicle is from a student’s location, or notify if a BruinBus is closer, she added. Rhee said CSO vans already have a tracking device the app could use.

“It (would) come directly to you, unless it is a BruinBus – then you would would have to walk to the stop,” Hajee said.

Rhee said she became concerned about the safety of the existing CSO evening van program when a student told her she was mugged while waiting for a van last spring. She and another student were robbed at gunpoint outside the Kappa Delta sorority’s house, she said.

“While CSO vans were meant to provide a safe means of transportation at night, the fact that students were waiting 20 to 30 minutes for the van alone outside was unsafe,” Rhee said.

[Editorial: CSO needs to extend late-night hours]

Rhee said she thinks the funds for the CSO escort program, which allows students to request CSOs to walk them home, should be used to update the evening van program and create the app. She added she thinks students do not use the CSO escort program enough because the program receives under 10 requests on some months.

The CSO escort program’s budget would cover 60 to 70 percent of the estimated costs of the revised van service, Rhee said.

Students said they think the app would make the van service more convenient to use.

Megan Hullander, a first-year undeclared social sciences student, said she thinks the campus should invest in the app to improve the van service’s safety after the mugging.

Alicia Artis, a fourth-year economics student, said she has always waited a long time for the van, which is frequently overcrowded. She added she would be able to wait safely inside with the app because she would know exactly when it would come.

“I think it’s better than waiting outside for an unknown amount of time, because previously you had no way of knowing when the next (van) when come,” Artis said.

Rhee said she hopes administrators will consider the Facilities Commission’s proposed changes when UCLA renews its contract with the CSO van service.

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Managing editor

Pauker is the managing editor. She was previously an assistant news editor for the City beat and a reporter for the City beat.

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