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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

Reporters

Ed S. Fishman

News Editor


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.