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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

GW looks to student SafeRide drivers to mitigate staffing shortages

Kyle Anderson | Photographer
Destiny Jackson, the director of transportation and logistics, said GW may add the role to the Federal Work Study program in the future.

The next time you take a SafeRide, you might be driven by a fellow student.

GW is turning to students to supplement a depleted staff of drivers that has sent officials looking for alternative options this year. Officials said the University will expand SafeRide, which provides free late-night rides around the Foggy Bottom campus, to include 10 to 15 new drivers from the student population.

Destiny Jackson, the director of transportation and logistics, said staffing shortages have limited SafeRide operations, and officials are turning to students to maintain consistent operations.

“During these unpredictable times as a result of the pandemic, we have had staffing constraints and have had difficulty like many organizations around the country hiring drivers,” Jackson said in an email. “We have to think of innovative ways to keep our services operational and still provide the exceptional level of service our community expects.”

Jackson said the openings, which were posted in January, will offer students an opportunity to earn money while also flexibly managing their own schedule to keep a balance between work and school.

“​​Being able to open this position up to students is a win for everyone,” Jackson said. “We will allow students to manage their schedule so that they can still focus on their studies.”

Jackson said the job will not currently count as a Federal Work Study position, but the University might open the position under the program in the future.

Officials expanded SafeRide’s boundaries to 2400 M Apartments, The Flats at Dupont Circle and the Lincoln Memorial after Student Association Vice President Kate Carpenter spearheaded legislation to expand the service in September. At the time, Jackson said the expansion would slightly lengthen waiting times for rides by a few minutes because of a national driver shortage.

Carpenter said SA members were focused last week on promoting the openings on social media, but applications are now closed after more than 30 students applied to be SafeRide drivers – 10 to 15 more than the number officials were hoping to hire.

The University is requiring all applicants to have a driver’s license, customer service skills and basic computer knowledge, according to a graphic that Carpenter posted on Instagram last week. The graphic states that GW prefers applicants to be graduate students or upperclassmen.

Georgetown University, a GW peer school that also uses the SafeRide program, hires “student guards” to drive SafeRide vehicles, according to its website. The University of Southern California, another peer school, grants its students free Lyft rides while on campus, according to its website.

GW’s 10 other peer schools have some form of late-night ride-sharing service, but the websites don’t specify who serves as drivers.

Carpenter said the job opportunity will allow students to earn money on a flexible schedule near campus while helping to serve the rest of the student body.

“When moving to the city, driving is a skill that many students either miss or wish they could still do,” she said in an email. “This job will offer students the ability to continue a skill they already have while providing safe transportation for many in the community while being paid!”

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