Ibis Ride canceled due to poor behavior, unlikely to return in current format

FILE PHOTO FUTILE EFFORT: Members of “Save the Ibis Ride” visited the Ibis Ride pickup point last spring with Dean Ricardo Hall in an effort to improve the behavior on the shuttles and save the transportation service.  FILE PHOTO 2008

For now, at least, the Ibis Ride is no more, and students will have to find a new way to get to Coconut Grove on weekends.

On Wednesday, University of Miami administrators came to the Student Government’s weekly Senate meeting to explain the cancellation of the Ibis Ride.

The assistant dean of students, Nanette Vega, received three incident reports last weekend. One involved a student that was intoxicated and unresponsive and was sent to the hospital, another concerned a student that was assaulted and suffered a broken nose, and the third featured an unresponsive student that had to be walked to the residence halls.

Nate Clough, a senior and supervisor of the Ibis Ride, heard about two of these reports. He said the attacked individual was standing in line for the bus, while the person sent to the hospital also vomited on the bus.

Drivers must clean all shuttles before returning them for the night.

Clough says that usually they have one report a week. Three reports is very unusual and catalyzed the close of the Ibis Ride. He furthered said that the university has been threatening to close the Ibis Ride since the beginning of the semester.

“The university sees the Ibis Ride as helping underage kids use their fake identifications to go to the grove and get more hammered,” Clough said.

Dean of Students Ricardo Hall was also present at the meeting. He said the ride was canceled at 3 p.m. on Monday. Hall had received an e-mail from a monitor for the Ibis Ride that outlined the situation on the bus.

“This student monitor did not feel safe,” he said. “Students were disrespecting her and disregarding what she said to them.”

When previously asked about the future of the Ibis Ride, Hall had a more optimistic tone about student’s behavior, even just two months ago.

“Ridership is way up and consequently the frequency of violations is lower,” Hall told The Miami Hurricane for its Feb. 23 issue. “After awareness of the problems we were having went up, there was a sharp improvement in behavior. We are in a different place now.”

Clough says monitors are slighted by students.

“I know [monitors] that have been threatened,” he said. “It is kind of intimidating.”

The announcement was delayed until Tuesday as Lionel Moise, the new Student Government president, was inaugurated Monday night and Hall did not want to immediately burden him with this predicament.

Hall also mentioned that UM’s transportation problems are being noticed by news outlets throughout Miami.

The Miami New Times blog Riptide 2.0 featured a post on Tuesday about the transportation issues. The post was written by UM alumnus Kyle Munzenrieder. In the humorous post he refers to the Ibis Ride as a “drunk bus” and calls a portion of UM’s student body “entitled douchebags.” NBC6 has also recently covered some of the Ibis Ride’s issues.

In reference to the possibility that drunk driving deaths could increase because of the lack of university supplied transportation, Hall looked to the past.

“In reality the Ibis Ride has been around for eight years,” he said. “The university has been around for around 80 years, and Coconut Grove long before that. Students got there before the Ibis Ride.”

Vice President for Student Affair Patricia A. Whitely also spoke to the SG Senate.

Whitely did not rule out the rides from coming back, but said it would have to be in a new form. She suggested maybe putting SG senators on the buses to monitor the riders or scaling back the hours of the bus.

The fees for the Ibis Ride are nominal and were not cut because of financial reasons, according to Vega. It cost $40,000, which Vega said was small compared to operating costs.

April 8, 2009


Ed S. Fishman

News Editor

8 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Ibis Ride canceled due to poor behavior, unlikely to return in current format”

  1. TH says:

    Nate, again… nail on the head…. you hit the nail on the head…

  2. Nate Skinner says:

    Well, I love it when people use the “They are raising tuition, but they are cutting services” line, even though tuition doesn’t entitle you to anything other than an education, and a couple of other things…When you are in an economic climate in which investment values are down, and whatnot, you gotta cut what not you need, and the Ibis Ride wasn’t cut for economic reasons. It was cut because most of our fellow ‘Canes are spoiled brats. I don’t see the need for a drunk bus, because I’ve always felt that if you’re not responsible enough to be able to plan your nights out, then you shouldn’t be here at this University in the first place. It’s not the responsibility of the administration to do the job your parents should have done. Most of the students here can easily afford to take a cab, or have someone be the DD, but a lot of people choose not to be that responsible, because they think that nothing will happen to them..I’m hoping that the cops get out and start cracking down, I’ll laugh my but off when my classmates are being hauled off to the joint..

  3. Handicapped Access says:

    Has anyone given any thought to the notion that the Ibis Ride is the only RELIABLE way for students with disabilities to have any sort of social life off of campus?

    Wheelchair accessable taxis are practically non-existant, and the Metro Rail Grove Stop is almost two miles away from the actual Grove, through some of the worst parts of Miami. And yet the University continues to raise tuition while cutting services. I like the idea of UMPD working a bit harder for their salaries and equipment, having officers stationed in the busses… perhaps use it as an overtime incentive for new officers who need some money.

    It pains me to see this, especially as an Alumnus.

    -Wheelchair bound Alum c/o 2007

  4. Thinker says:

    Great idea, brag about being a cool guy that drives drunk 4 or 5 nights a week! If you can be out that many nights, you can afford a seven dollar cab ride, d-bag.

    Impossible to get a DUI, I dare you to try driving in South Miami…

  5. The Truth says:

    All the people saying that the University will be responsible for the deaths of those drunk drivers that result from this are idiotic at best. The University should not have any sort of backlash for stupid decisions from students who probably deserve what they get by driving drunk. It’s like walking around with a loaded gun, in your pants, without the safety on. Nobody should be blamed but the person doing those actions. It just shows you the character of what most of our student body is made up of…We need the right kind of students here and maybe not having a “Drunk Bus” will deter those who aren’t worthy of coming here.

    I do agree with the above person that 95% do use the Ibis Ride as a safe and convenient way to get home and complete cancellation of the system is a mistake. However, they need much stricter rules as the person above said. The first person that posted is a fool and will cry like a little girl when they put him in the squad car for DUI.

  6. Over Compensating says:

    It seems to me that this is really just a case of the administration making sweeping changes. Here’s a thought- how about putting some qualified security on those busses, like UMPD or a security guard? When I’ve been on the Ibis Ride, the student “security” doesn’t even have their card scanner half the time, and doesn’t ask for ID when students get on the bus. Clearly, 95% of the students on the Ibis Ride behave themselves and use it as a safe ride home, so why close the whole shuttle when we can ban INDIVIDUALS? Make it a month-long ban for the first offense, a year-long ban for a second offense or if they try to get on while they’re banned, and a lifetime for the third offense. There’s really no reason that the whole university needs to suffer for the idiotic behavior of a few people.
    And as far as that first comment… hopefully we won’t be seeing your death notice in the Miami Hurricane anytime soon. Please, please don’t drive drunk, no matter how well you think you can do it.

  7. Once Again says:

    Wow, once again, services cut as tuition increases.

  8. Not that hard says:

    In case everyone hasn’t noticed, it’s just about impossible to get a DUI in Miami anyway. Cops have WAY high priorities then drunk driving in this city. So you’ll just have to do what many of us do almost every night anyway, learn how to drive while intoxicated. Just don’t be an idiot. Follow the speed limit. Come to complete stops at every stop sign. Don’t swerve. Do these and you’ll be fine. I’ve been driving drunk to and from the Grove for years, and have been pulled over once. The cop saw I was a UM student, patted my arm and told me to “get home safely.” Cabs are prohibitively expensive, especially if you go out 3-4 nights a week, additionally it can be very hard to get one at 2-3 AM.

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.