Kornel Rady

uRide 24-5 — a pilot transportation service for University students, faculty and staff — launched Monday and will taxi students from the Perry-Castaneda Library to residential neighborhoods at no cost from midnight to 3 a.m.

The service — a combined effort between Parking and Transportation Services, Student Government and private car service uRide Inc. — uses uRide 24-5’s branded cars to facilitate free transportation from the library to residential neighborhoods in Far West, Lake Austin and Riverside Drive.

uRide 24-5 uses a fleet of black Toyota Prii and a smartphone app that tracks each car’s progress on its route, Student Government financial director Kornel Rady said.

Student Government plans to expand the service coverage to downtown in the spring if the pilot program is successful, Rady said. The downtown expansion is intended in part to prevent students from drinking and driving, but funding has not been secured. If expanded, the Fall program would be called Safe Ride.

“Through uRide 24-5, we will be able to offer a safer, more reliable option to students who would otherwise have to walk home or attempt catching one of the University shuttles home,” Rady said.

Funding for the pilot program came from a $14,000 grant given to Parking and Transportation Services by the Office of the Dean of Students, said Blanca Juarez, Parking and Transportation Services spokeswoman. She said the grant would fund the program to align with the library’s 24-5 schedule for the duration of the fall semester. 

Finance sophomore Victoria Guerra said she frequently uses the E-Bus to venture downtown instead of using her car because of parking difficulties and traffic. She said she wonders if the Safe Ride service will offer a solution to what she sees as the unreliable nature of campus shuttles.

“It seems there are not as many buses this semester as before, which makes you not want to go out because you don’t know if you’ll be able to find dependable means of transportation,” Guerra said. “The free service for the PCL definitely sounds more convenient and dependable than existing shuttle options, but if there’s a cost associated with the downtown service, I don’t see how choosing uRide is any different from calling a taxi.”

Rady said uRide 24-5 differs from other taxi services by only allowing University students, faculty and staff to use the library and downtown services.

“uRide Inc. is working with UT EID scanning systems like those found on the E-Bus to verify your identity and ability to partake in the service,” Rady said. 

Nathalia Lopez, speech and language pathology sophomore, said she holds concerns about passenger safety.

“Safety is a big concern for me regarding the service, especially if you happen to be riding alone,” Lopez said. 

Rady said discussions between the University and uRide Inc. regarding liability contractual agreements are currently ongoing.

uRide Inc.’s corporate offices could not be reached for comment.

Correction: In the Oct. 15 edition of the Daily Texan an error was made in this article. The title "uRide 24-5" refers to the pilot initiative that will be in place during the Fall semester of 2013. The Spring program, if enacted, will be called "Safe Ride."

Editor’s note: The Daily Texan Editorial Board sent questionnaires to Student Government candidates running for executive alliance, University-wide, college-wide, University Co-op Board of Directors and Texas Union Board positions. We did not consider candidates who failed to return a questionnaire, and we did not endorse in uncontested races.

The Daily Texan Editorial Board endorses the following candidates:

The Daily Texan editor-in-chief

Two candidates are vying for The Daily Texan editor-in-chief position: Susannah Jacob and Shabab Siddiqui. The Daily Texan Editorial Board has decided not to endorse for this race, as both candidates are extremely qualified and the editorial board believes either candidate would do an excellent job as editor.

University-wide representative

Avery Walker:
As a current liberal arts representative, Avery Walker is familiar with many of the big issues that will face SG next year. Most notably, she helped develop legislation about a centralized internship database. Walker displays enthusiasm for proposals such as the Interactive Degree Audit that would positively affect many students in her constituency.

Crystal Zhao:
With her previous SG experience as a liberal arts representative, Zhao is the University-wide candidate that displays the most impressive knowledge of University issues. Though she displayed a troubling tendency to blame students’ “apathetic” attitudes for the shortcomings of SG, especially in relation to the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee, we feel that Zhao would be an excellent voice for the larger University population.

College of Liberal Arts representative

Kornel Rady:
Rady, a first-year representative in SG, has concrete proposals to improve student life at the University, including pushing for a fall break. He also hopes to increase the transparency of SG by improving UT’s smartphone applications.

McCombs School of Business representative

Aaron Fair:
As an appointee to the Faculty Council, Fair worked with administrators to improve the registration and admissions processes. He displays a commitment to representing minority groups, many of which are not typically represented at SG. His fundamental commitment to the future of McCombs shows the promise of success.

Ross Yudkin:
Yudkin has not been involved with SG in the past but has clearly thought about many of the issues facing the University. Yudkin believes, among other things, that TPAC meetings should be open and advertised to students and that the current committee structure is not representative of students. Specifically, his plan to publicize the services McCombs offers its students is a concrete, attainable goal that we believe would benefit students.

College of Communication representative

Robert L. Milligan:
Milligan currently works as assistant director for Hook the Vote, a Student Government agency that works to increase political awareness and encourage voter turnout. He pledges to involve more students in student governance by authoring more college- and University-wide referenda to include the student voice in a variety of issues, including tuition discussions.

College of Natural Sciences representative

Perry Pickei:
Pickei has no previous experience with SG, but to ensure he reaches out to constituents, Pickei says he will regularly meet with and tell natural sciences students about current projects he is working on. Specifically, he hopes to work to increase exposure to the Freshman Research Initiative, to push for a minoring program in the college and to improve bicycle safety on campus.

Cockrell School of Engineering

Kevin Yuan:
Yuan currently serves as an SG representative for the Cockrell School of Engineering and has supported resolutions in support of a fall break and in favor of increased support for electrical and chemical engineering students. If reelected, he hopes to bridge the gap between SG and the Student Engineering Council, improve the process by which students claim Advanced Placement credit and expand tutoring programs within the college.

Student Events Center president

Carissa Kelley:
Despite Kelley’s recent involvement in the disqualification of Madison Gardner and Antonio Guevara, former executive alliance candidates, the editorial board believes she would be best able to lead the Student Events Center next year. Kelley’s platform is focused on making sure the rest of the campus is fully informed of activities and events sponsored by the SEC and improving the relationships among internal committees. Kelley has straightforward, specific goals, including changing the approach to SEC programming, introducing a mentorship program for new students involved in the SEC and exploring low-cost programming options in light of recent
budget cuts.

University Co-op Board of Directors

Stephen Tran:
Between working as a resident assistant and with the Faculty Council, Stephen Tran has a wide variety of experiences that would serve him well as a Co-op board member. Tran’s concrete proposals, especially one that would streamline the textbook ordering process, would update existing Co-op rules to benefit students.