Staff Editorial: Gold Zone underwhelmingly replaces SafeRide security

The Hullabaloo Editorial Board

The new Gold Zone shuttle is an abhorrent replacement for Safe Ride, a late-night shuttle that essentially operated as a free, on-demand taxi service in the area surrounding campus.

Safe Ride was a convenient and reliable transportation option for students exploring the Uptown area after 8 p.m. Most New Orleans transportation options, public or otherwise, are just the opposite. It is difficult to get a cab in this city, especially Uptown, and cabs are generally costly. The St. Charles Avenue streetcar line is slow and unreliable. For students walking home from any local restaurant, bar or residence late at night, their best option was to call Safe Ride. Now students will resort to walking home during the middle of the night, potentially leading to more incidents like the battery outside The Palms Bar and Grill Wednesday morning. 

Safe Ride has been replaced by the Gold Zone, a transportation service run by Tulane Shuttles and Transportation that can only be used to travel in between off-campus student residences and campus, with the exception of pharmacies. 

Even still, students waiting outside pharmacies for a ride back to campus have been greeted by low-priority service and long waits, not to mention the poor service given Tulane students in the middle of the night.

The newly operational Gold Zone was originally introduced in April and was subsequently updated during the summer after public outcry from the student body. We applaud the transportation department for listening to student feedback and adjusting accordingly. More still needs to be done.

The new Uptown Loop claims to be a valid replacement to access some favorite off-campus restaurants and bars. The new shuttle line does service many go-to student eateries on Freret and Maple streets, and South Carollton Avenue. The shuttle only delivers to and from campus, thus rendering the service useless for students living far from campus and forcing them to pursue another, less secure option. 

The Uptown Loop ceases operations at 11:24 p.m., further limiting its usefulness. Students indulging in late night eats at Camellia Grill or having a beer at Phillips Restaurant and Bar after midnight will have to walk home or try to hail a cab.

The other late night options are predominately limited. Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s CarShare program only supplies four vehicles for use and is relatively expensive.

Additionally, Tulane has worked out a deal with Checker Cab, Nawlins Cab, New Orleans Carriage Cab and Yellow Cab to give priority to students looking for cabs in the Uptown area. This is an exciting program, but it is too early to tell how reliable it will prove to be. Plus, it is costly. 

Having a reliable and free transportation option that operated long past 11:24 p.m. was a privilege that Tulane students enjoyed through the years of Safe Ride. Students felt safe to enjoy the upsides of the city we know and love. Encouraging students to pay for cabs after midnight is not a practical or feasible option for most students. Students had security in Safe Ride, but now we are literally in the dark and alone.