Wilton SafeRides launched its 7th consecutive year with a kick-off meeting at Trackside Teen Center on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 8. Cindy Moser, director of Trackside, Sgt. Steve Rangel of the Wilton Police Department and John Myers and Jake Eagan of the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps made presentations to over 100 WHS students.
This year’s program is led by Wilton High School seniors Meghan Lane and Jimmy O’Brien and includes over 150 student volunteers. Wilton SafeRides operates every Friday and Saturday night between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. (weather permitting) out of Trackside and provides safe and reliable free rides home to WHS students who are in need of a safe ride home in Wilton.
While Uber and Lyft have effective reduced the demand of SafeRides in some towns (Westport suspended its program last year due to lack of student participation) Wilton SafeRides has steadily grown. “When it restarted in Sept. 2013 the program had 64 student volunteers on eight teams,” according to Lane. A busy night back then might have resulted in providing 10-15 rides home. This year SafeRides still has 8 teams but now has grown to over 150 student volunteers. “A busy night now might be over 100 rides,” says O’Brien. “Some nights the teams go out around 11 p.m. and we don’t see them for the rest of the night. Homecoming, Junior Prom, Halloween, and the Counties Assemblies are our busiest nights in that order.”
It is not a surprise that the program’s popularity remains strong. All rides are kept strictly confidential with no questions asked. It is run by WHS students solely for the benefit of WHS students, and rides are free. “That is a combo that is hard to beat” says one WHS senior.
At the end of the meeting Lane and O’Brien thanked the Wilton Kiwanis Club, which sponsors SafeRides, and Trackside for providing a very welcoming and comfortable environment for student volunteers. “Without these two institutions we couldn’t do it,” they said.