Volume 92, Issue 79

Wednesday, February 17, 1998


Federal budget fails to address education

Hailing a safety solution

U of T gets movie blues

Western alumnus feared dead after avalanche

Faculty vote against open voting rights

Washing hope into disease

Safety issues spring up before break

Hailing a safety solution

By Sabrina Carinci
Gazette Staff

It's late. You are far from home and do not have any money. This was the situation of a female Western student early Saturday morning.

The student, separated from her friends at a downtown bar, was forced to leave the bar on her own. On the way back to her residence she was offered a ride by a car full of strangers but the offer may not have been sincere.

"She reluctantly got into the vehicle. She began to feel uncomfortable and asked to get out but the driver wouldn't let her," said Const. Wendy McGowan of the University Police Department.

The young woman was finally allowed out of the car when the vehicle reached the intersection of Richmond and Oxford streets and contacted the police, McGowan said.

As a result of the occurrence, McGowan has begun work on a new safety initiative whereby students would have access to cabs even when they do not have money with them. A voucher system would allow cab drivers to collect their fare at a later date. "It's a win-win situation that would ensure cabbies get their fare and people get home safely."

Tom Donnelly, general manager of Aboutown Transportation Limited, a London cab service, said the company is always willing to look at new initiatives. "We presently have [Taxis on Patrol Services]. It's a safe haven – people can just jump into a cab if they're in danger," he said. Donnelly explained all drivers are trained for the TOPS program and no payment is expected.

Donnelly also said the company is presently working on updating the computers located in each of the vehicles to include a swipe system. This may help initiate other terms of payment which may possibly include the Western One card.

Pete Hill, VP-campus issues for the USC, said he will bring up the topic at the Board of Director's meeting today. "The [University Students' Council] is going to look into the feasibility of the initiative but it will require a study of those involved."

Joe Swan, a councillor for Ward 2, said McGowan's proposal would be beneficial to anyone who has ever felt at risk of being harmed. "If there's any safety mechanism we can work out – then we should," he said. "I think it's do-able."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999