Students using the Department of Public Safety and Security’s mobile application TapRide make up 40 to 50 percent of all SafeRide transportation requests since its launch on Sept. 28, according to Donald Tauriello, associate director for Public Safety.
The Uber-like smartphone app TapRide exists as an alternate way for students to request a ride. The app is free, and once Seton Hall University is selected, a PirateNet account can be used to login.
This new system using the TapRide app is all about speed and efficiency. Instead of having the rider call the dispatcher, who then has to contact the driver, who then has to call back to give his location, the app does all that work automatically. “This is much more efficient, no noise or clatter, cuts down on confusion and frustration; that’s what’s important,” Tauriello said.
There are four ways to choose a pick-up and drop-off location: one can search a location similar to searching on a GPS, tap a location on the map, use a current location through location services on mobile phones, or use one of the pre-loaded black pins on the map.
Tauriello calls these pins “virtual bus stops.” He said that they are the most common locations students use for SafeRide. These locations, over time, will change. If a pin is no longer used often, they will get rid of it and upload new, more popular locations.
TapRide users choose location A as their pick-up and location B as their drop-off. Once a ride is requested, it immediately goes to a dashboard that both the SafeRide drivers and the Department of Public Safety have access to. The rides come in the order they are received. Once a driver selects and accepts the request, the TapRide user will automatically be notified.
The driver sends an estimated time of arrival and the SafeRide icon pops up on the app user’s mobile map. This way, the student is allowed to see the SafeRide’s current location at all times. Once the driver arrives, the student is notified.
Several students had some issues with TapRide the first time they used it but plan on using it again.
“At first, I didn’t know if the SafeRide was on its way or not. I decided to just wait and it ended up working well. It was really easy and I would definitely use it again,” Jenna Kuhn, sophomore nursing major said.
Similarly, Abby Murphy, sophomore diplomacy major, said she was confused at first. “I guess you have to wait for the driver to accept the request. Once I figured that out, it worked fine,” she said.
In response to complaints coming in from students, Tauriello said that while the app works well, it is not perfect. 210 individual rides were called in on Friday, Oct. 16. The longest wait time for a rider was 20 minutes.
Three SafeRide drivers are available Thursday through Saturday and two on Sunday through Wednesday. While SafeRide transportation runs daily from 5 p.m. until 3 a.m., there are certain times that are the most popular, especially on weekends.
One specific complaint came in from a female student, says Tauriello, who put in a TapRide request and missed her ride when the driver arrived at the pick-up location and asked other students waiting outside if they requested a ride. Coincidentally these students did request a ride and took the ride that was meant for the female student who was not waiting outside.
“People who use it infrequently, once or twice, may be confused about how it (TapRide) works,” Tauriello said. “People who use it most of the time, it appears that they seem to not have any issues with it.”
Tauriello said students need to have a little patience. He reminds the student body to keep the app updated, always pick the correct number of passengers when requesting SafeRide transportation, and be ready to go when the driver arrives.
The drivers have several rides to accommodate, and they will only wait two minutes at most for the students to come out.
Daniela Geraldo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org