New app boosts night riders

SafeRide drivers and car

Students Matt Molitor (left) and Scott Lindley are among the ISU police-trained community service officers providing safe rides around campus at night. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

SafeRide ISU, the new Uber-like service that provides free night transport on campus is off to a busy start. During its first six weeks of operation, more than 2,400 passengers caught a ride in the one of the public safety department's SafeRide cars.

"We provided 1,809 rides from Aug. 19 to Oct. 1 this year," said interim chief of police Aaron DeLashmutt. "That's a 139 percent increase over the 758 rides provided during the same period with the old safety escort program."

The new twist on last year's program is the SafeRide ISU smartphone app that allows someone requesting a ride to summon a car, get its ETA and watch the car's progress on a real-time map view.

While rides still can be requested with a call to a dispatcher, most passengers are using the app, DeLashmutt said. The app has several advantages. A rider can wait in a building or other protected area until the car arrives. Rider and driver can communicate directly without involving a dispatcher. And the app uses GPS, which provides a very accurate pickup time.

The service

The ride service is available to anyone concerned about walking on campus between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Cars carry riders to and from central campus and other university areas, such as ISU leased residence apartments, Greek houses and the basketball practice facility.

ISU students trained as community service officers for police drive the three SafeRide vehicles. Up to three riders can be transported at a time. A driver arriving at a pickup destination sends a notification to the requester's phone.

The app

The ISU SafeRide app, available through the Google Play and Apple stores, can only be used by students, faculty and staff (ISU Net-IDs are required for signon). Visitors can call dispatch at 294-4444 for a ride.

SafeRide numbers (Aug. 19-Oct. 1)

Rides provided




Average response time, request to pick-up

14 min.

Average ride time, pick-up to drop-off

6 min.

Active SafeRide app accounts


SafeRide app downloads


Related story

Safe travel on campus: There's an app for that, Aug. 18, 2016