Don't blame RIPTA
09/18/03 - To ensure the safety of its students, URI decided to provide free transportation to Providence clubs on Thursday nights, but students abused the privilege and the service has been discontinued. Many students are blaming RIPTA for the termination of its services, but really they have no one to blame but themselves and their peers.
The problem began when students returned to the bus after a night of clubbing and bar hopping. Some of them, drunk and rowdy, picked fights and exhibited inappropriate behavior toward the driver and other students. Of course, not all students behaved in this fashion, but enough did to make RIPTA reconsider its services.
The service ends Oct. 2 and many are now concerned about the number of students who might drive drunk.
Although this is a valid concern, many of the students who used the buses were freshmen and sophomores, and are not legally old enough to drink. Those who are old enough to consume alcoholic beverages should know enough to elect a designated driver.
Students are clearly upset about the cancellation, and many even offered complaints about the service before the cancellation was announced.
One of these complaints was that students were missing the bus back to Kingston and had to pay extravagant fees to take a taxi home. The solution to this was easy: they should have been ready to leave when the bus was.
If college students aren't responsible enough to manage their time accordingly, then maybe they don't belong on the buses to begin with.
When the problems first occurred, RIPTA attempted to remedy the situation by informing URI about the students' unruly behavior. RIPTA officials even warned students about their chaotic conduct in an article in The Good Five Cent Cigar last spring. This year, RIPTA sent supervisors to follow the buses back to URI to make sure everything ran smoothly.
This is not the kind of treatment RIPTA employees deserve. Extra buses were provided free of charge and employees worked late into the night to ensure the safety of students and fellow employees. Students should have been thankful for these services.
Instead they treated employees and their fellow students with disrespect.
In addition, those who acted inappropriately may have succeeded in giving URI students a bad name. This school has worked to clean up its reputation as a "party school" and adverse behavior by those taking the bus may have damaged the school's credibility.
Next time, students should be thankful for services donated out of concern for their own safety.
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