By Rhyan Henson
The Butler University Police Department unveiled its newest campus security amenity, Dawg Ride, at the beginning of the academic year.
Dawg Ride is a service that will pick up any student and take him or her to and from anywhere on campus from dusk until dawn seven days a week.
The van is American Disabilities Act-equipped, so handicapped students will have full access to the service.
To contact the van, students should call 317-940-2873.
While this sounds like a campus taxi, the service is actually designed to keep students safe, said Bill Weber, assistant police chief.
In the past, Butler has offered to have an officer pick up students. BUPD is now in the process of hiring two public safety officers whose full-time job will be to operate the van.
Hiring two full-time drivers will allow BUPD to keep more boots on the ground to attend to normal police responsibilities.
The additional manpower will also decrease the amount of time public safety officers need to pick up students.
Ben Hunter, chief of staff, said administration plans to utilize technology to increase the program’s efficiency.
Hunter said Information Technology and administration are looking into using a phone app that would track the bus’s whereabouts.
This will lower the waiting time and make the experience more efficient for students, he said.
Hunter said no timeline exists for when this phone app might be available.
The initial use of the van is a big step in the right direction, but BUPD should expand the service to nearby neighborhoods. That way, those who work late on campus but live off campus could easily return to their houses after a long night of studying or working.
Expanding the program to nearby neighborhoods could also decrease the amount of commuter stickers purchased by students, resulting in more parking spaces that could be reallocated to on-campus residents.
Officers say a lot of students use the van, and more are expected to use it once students realize the service is available.
Administrators expect to make minor tweaks to the program as the school year progresses.
“We will see how this program works out. If it is successful, it is extremely possible that this program will expand,” Weber said.
Weber said the two biggest problems holding back the programs expansion are money and manpower.
An additional fee of $20 charged to each student’s tuition would generate more than $80,000 to hire two additional workers. This additional fee is not much more than a cab from Broad Ripple, and it would be money well spent.