Despite a DJ blasting tunes and ample advertising, the Ibis Ride Kickoff saw a sharp decline in student use.
While over 800 students rode the Ibis Ride to Coconut Grove in fall of 2008, a mere 423 students used the service on its opening night, Sept. 24.
The trend has continued throughout October, which shows a consistent 20 to 30 percent drop in student attendance. Facing its possible demise for the past two years as a result of student violations, the Ibis Ride came back this year with a different look.
The Ibis Ride runs for fewer hours, requiring students to leave the Grove by 2 a.m. rather than 3 a.m. In addition, violation of policy will lead directly to an indefinite ban from the bus.
Assistant Dean of Students Nannette Vega, attributes the decline partly to the Ibis Ride starting a whole month later this year, allowing students the time to find alternative routes to the Grove and alternative destinations. She also notes that more people are taking taxis and other forms of transportation home, most likely due to the Ibis Ride’s shorter hours.
“We are still seeing a lot of taxi traffic in front of Hecht,” Vega said.
The school also provides alternative programs for students like Salsa Craze, national alcohol awareness week, and speakers like sexologists.
Sophomore Gaurav Dhiman does not go to the Grove on Thursdays. He prefers other activities on or around campus.
“I think we were all a little too fascinated with the Grove; now it’s like eh,” Dhiman said.
Thursday’s numbers continue to be the highest compared to Friday and Saturday nights. Vega is confident, that the numbers will continue rise.
“We will see students utilizing the service,” she said.
So far there have been two incidents reported on the Ibis Ride. One incident involving an underage student vomiting resulted in disciplinary action that will ban the student from using the service again. The second incident involves an unsolved case of a stolen Cane Card reader.
With only two incidents throughout the entire semester thus far, the Ibis Ride is in good shape according to Vega. However, the ride is still not guaranteed to return next year. Due to low attendance, especially on Saturday, one day may be eliminated.