STRIPES will decrease wait time and increase safety with new dispatch system

The system could be implemented as early as the fall semester.

When stranded without a ride, MU students have the option of using the student-run safe ride program STRIPES. However, some students choose not to use the service because of the wait time, which can be as long as an hour during peak times. STRIPES hopes to solve this problem by implementing a new dispatch system in the fall.

If implemented, the system would “dispatch rides to the closest vehicle,” according to an email sent to all STRIPES members in late February. Currently, the the system relies on the nightly operations manager assigning rides to vehicles based on their own knowledge of Columbia geography.

Senior Hassan Kabul, the risk management coordinator, is playing an active role in incorporating the dispatch system into STRIPES’ current system. Jake Hamilton and Nick Strope, the former marketing and risk management coordinators, originally came up with the concept two years ago, but Hamilton recently approached Kabul about implementing it earlier this semester.

One of the main benefits the dispatch system brings is timeliness. Each car will send out minute-by-minute updates of the car’s location, which will play a part in dispatching cars to the location of the closest rider.

Marketing Coordinator Drew Mack had the opportunity to test out the dispatch system during one of his drives.

“When you’re actually in the car, you don’t notice any of the software,” Mack said in an email. “So it hasn’t changed the driver’s experience at all — except that it might make them more aware that we’re really making sure their driving habits are top notch.”

Kabul is looking forward to the dispatch system being implemented as early as August because of its many benefits for both patrons and drivers.

“If anything happens to a car we will know exactly where it is,” Kabul said. “A cool, neat feature is that if a car does get in an accident, not just a fender bender, but an actual accident, the phone will automatically call 911 and let them know the location of the accident.”

Mack believes that the system is necessary because it will also help monitor the volunteers driving. This will ensure that STRIPES upholds its mission statement of being a safe ride home.

“The system is necessary because in addition to making sure our volunteers are getting rides that are nearest to them,” Mack said in an email. “We can also check and make sure that they’re driving habits are up to standards — it helps us make sure we’re maintaining our image of a safe ride home.”

Currently, the executive board is deciding whether or not the dispatch system will be debuted in August for the fall semester. The system will cost $1,680.

STRIPES will be recruiting new members to join the organization in the fall semester until April 10, for more information stop by the STRIPES desk in the Center of Student Involvement office or visit their website.

Edited by Waverly Colville |

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