UNH Students First in Connecticut to Receive URide Safe Card

The Charger Bulletin

New Venture with Metro Taxi and The Governor’s Prevention Partnership Strives for Safe Student Transport, 24/7

WEST HAVEN, Conn., August 19, 2009—Students arriving for fall classes at the University of New Haven (UNH) will be the first in Connecticut, and possibly the nation, to take part in a pioneering program to ensure college students always have access to safe transportation, whether they are heading out for a night on the town, running errands, or needing a ride back to campus any time day or night.

In a partnership with Metro Taxi, Connecticut’s largest, full-service cab company, and The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, a statewide public-private alliance co-chaired by Governor M. Jodi Rell, UNH is offering students the University Ride (URide®) debit card. The no-cash, personal debit card can be used in any Metro Taxi throughout Connecticut, giving students access to safe, dependable transportation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The URide® account can be easily accessed online through www.URideSafeCard.com. Students or parents can add money to the account and receive a detailed ride log, enabling them to keep track of their usage of Metro Taxi transportation.

“We believe that this is the first community partnership of its kind in the nation initiated by a taxicab company,” said Alfred LaGasse, CEO of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, the taxicab industry’s international trade association. “Among our nearly 1,000 member companies, Metro Taxi’s debit card for college students may well become a ‘best practice,’ replicated by colleges and universities everywhere.”

“Metro Taxi is a company that works to serve the community, and UNH takes its commitment to student safety and well-being seriously,” said Governor M. Jodi Rell. “Together, with the support of The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, they have created a resource that will significantly benefit students and their families, and that’s to be commended.”

UNH’s URide Safe® Card bears The Governor’s Prevention Partnership logo to reinforce the importance of this effort to keep kids safe, and to promote The Partnership’s broader mission, which includes building a strong, healthy future workforce through leadership in mentoring and prevention of violence, underage drinking, and alcohol and drug abuse.  “We look forward to working with UNH and Metro Taxi on these issues,” said Partnership President and CEO Jill Spineti.

“The URide Safe® Card offers parents peace of mind when sending their children off to college, knowing they will have pre-paid access to safe and reliable transportation,” says Ric Baker, UNH assistant dean of students. He adds that URide Safe® Card will complement the shuttle and transportation services already offered for UNH students. He also points out that he received positive feedback on the program while distributing URide® brochures to parents and students during summer orientations.

“With so many colleges and universities in the Greater New Haven and Greater Bridgeport areas that Metro Taxi serves, there’s a pressing need to provide students with a guaranteed safe ride home ­– at all hours and by a professional, designated driver,” says William Scalzi, founder and president of the West Haven-based Metro Taxi. “We’re absolutely delighted to team up with UNH and The Partnership, the state’s leader in helping to ensure that our youth remain safe and develop as strong, confident, successful people ready to work and to contribute to our society.”

“We strongly support the innovative partnership between Metro Taxi and the University of New Haven to bring comfort and security to students and their parents, knowing that they have access to reliable transportation at any time,” said Spineti. “The URide Safe® Card provides another tool for students to make good choices where their safety is concerned.  We know, from our experience working with college campuses around the state, that when the community gets involved, students are more likely to make good choices.”

Metro Taxi –  http://www.metrotaxict.com

Founded in 1987, Metro Taxi has been lauded for its state-of-the-art use of technology by the New Haven Chamber of Commerce, recognized for exceptional service by the Governor and the Connecticut General Assembly, named a Business New Haven Rising Star and was voted “Best in New Haven” every year that New Haven Advocate readers have been polled. Last month, the American Red Cross acknowledged Metro Taxi with the Pearce Award.  Named after business and community leader Herbert H. Pearce of H. Pearce Real Estate Co., the award recognizes the transportation company’s volunteerism and in-kind contributions, which aid the American Red Cross’ humanitarian relief efforts year-long.

The Governor’s Prevention Partnership –  http://www.preventionworksct.org

Created in 1989, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership is a statewide public-private alliance, building a strong, healthy future workforce through leadership in mentoring and prevention of violence, underage drinking, alcohol and drug abuse.  They serve as Connecticut’s alliance partner for Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Partnership for a Drug Free America.  Co-chaired by Governor M. Jodi Rell and a business leader, The Partnership provides leadership and services to help schools, communities, youth organizations, and businesses create and sustain quality programs.

The University of New Haven – http://www.newhaven.edu

A leader in experiential education, the University of New Haven is experiencing a historic and nationally recognized surge in enrollment. Founded in 1920, the University provides its students with a unique combination of solid liberal arts and real-world, hands-on professional training. UNH is a private university with an 80-acre main campus. The University has an enrollment of more than 5,200; approximately 1,700 graduate students and more than 3,500 undergraduates, 70 percent of whom reside in University housing.  The University offers more than 80 undergraduate degrees and more than 25 graduate degrees through its five colleges, in fields such as sports management, nutrition, forensic science, music and sound recording, engineering, computer science and criminal justice. University College at UNH develops programs and courses to meet the emerging educational and training needs of educators, businesses and public and social agencies, focusing on academic excellence, convenience and flexibility. University of New Haven students study abroad through a variety of distinctive programs.