SUSU intends to reduce the chance that students will find themselves in vulnerable situations after a night out. Although plans are still being finalised, the basic principle is that if individuals find themselves without money for any reason, it will still be possible to get a taxi home and pay the fare the following day.
The scheme, which will only apply to pre-booked taxis, involves the student and driver signing a receipt to confirm the fare. The student must also hand over their student ID to the taxi driver as a form of insurance.
The driver will take the ID card to the Students’ Union the next day and SUSU will pay the fare. It will then be possible for the student to go to SUSU reception in order to collect their ID and pay what is owed.
Similar schemes have been successfully launched this year in a handful of other major UK university cities, such as Leeds and Cambridge. The team working on this project in Southampton are looking at its functionality within these universities to assess what is required to offer the best possible service to Southampton students.
Reaction to the proposed scheme here in Southampton has been positive.
One student who spoke to the Wessex Scene said: “this idea is a step in the right direction. At the moment, people walk home after a night out if they don’t have the money which is a major safety problem, especially if you are on your own.”
“It’s a great idea.” A second year Oceanography student agreed. “However, we need our Student ID card for entry to buildings and to get on and off buses so to be without it even for a short time could cause problems elsewhere at the university.”
The VP for Welfare, Frankie Fry said that the idea will be proposed to the welfare committee and relevant members of staff shortly in order to iron out any potential problems and find ways to overcome them.
It is hoped that the scheme, which is being supported by local police, will be up and running before Christmas.
The Student’s Union are looking for comments and opinions on scheme which can be added via the SUSU website: http://blogs.susu.org/sabbs/2011/10/12/student-taxi-scheme-a-new-safety-initiative/