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UI Set To Expand 'Night Ride' Service

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - For University of Iowa student Stacia Scott, It's been a long wait - in more ways than one.

"I know I've contacted 'Night Ride' before and waited a few hours before night ride showed up," Scott said.

Scott, one of the faces behind the movement for sexual assault awareness on campus, says its a major problem

"I know I'm not the only one who's had to wait for a really long time to get home."

Now, the University is offering some help.

It's one of many proposals in university president Sally Mason's six point plan. The university plans to spend $55,000 to add an additional 'Night Ride' van to their fleet. The van provides women on campus - both faculty and staff - free rides around campus between 10 pm and 3 am.

"Hopefully more females will realize this is more of an option for them that they could take advantage of to get home safe," says Kenneth Friedhoff, Security Coordinator for the University of Iowa Police Department.

The sheer size of the campus has proven to be a challenge for the existing van, which has been in operation since 2009.

"Our boundaries are so great, we try to accommodate as many people as we can, and it takes that much more time," says Captain Loren Noska, also with UIPD.

Now, Noska says they can provide more rides, all while continuing to provide an environment where every woman that needs a ride can get one.

"We don't screen people at the door, so its really truly open to all females," Noska says.

Scott says the new van is a good first step.

"I think that the students have faith in the university, and the university will take the necessary initiatives and steps to move forward," she says.

However, Scott does have one lingering concern about the night ride.

"People are still wondering about whether or not somebody who is intoxicated can be denied the service of 'Night Ride,'" Scott said. "Because as of right now, the bus driver is able to determine if someone is too drunk to get on the bus home."

Police say there is no screening, and unless there is a need for immediate medical attention, intoxicated passengers can ride.

Scott say it needs to be a concrete policy.

"They might need a ride home more than anyone needs a ride home."

There's no set date on when the new van will be operational, Noska and UIPD say they hope to have it up and running soon.
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