UC's Nightride expands fleet, sees record-setting weekend

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Another UC student was robbed near campus Sunday night.  Police say that student was robbed on McMillan Street at Vine by four suspects, who punched him and made off with some of his belongings.

Police are still looking for suspects in that incident. They're looking for four black males, 18-23 years old, between 5'7" and 6'.  They were wearing black knit caps, black hooded sweatshirts and black pants.  If you know anything, call CrimeStoppers at 513-352-3040.

There's a campus initiative at UC to help prevent students from being victims to incidents like this called, "NightRide."

"With these students walking around on the evenings and the weekends when it's dark, we need to come up with a way we can get them from point A to point B in a safe and secure manner. This is one of the ways we did it," said Jim Vestring, coordinator of NightRide.

Every night starting at 8 p.m., a group of students load up a fleet of vans, all headed out to pick up fellow students needing a ride. Created in 2011, the fleet expanded this semester to five vans, and 45 students.

"We've been dropping people off even to their cars. We can go pretty much anywhere," said Andrew Haws, a NightRide team leader.

Haws has been with the program since the beginning.  Making Clifton safer, and moving students safer is his goal every night.

"Not every university has this program, and I feel like if we can make Clifton just a little bit safer, we can attract more students to come to UC," said Haws.

Meghan Canter lives in the University Park Apartments. Monday night was the second time she's used UC's NightRide.

"There was a robbery right outside my apartment complex. Even at my apartment I should feel safe. This is just a safe way to get around," said Canter.

This past weekend was record-setting for the program, with about 1,000 people being transported. 2013 numbers aren't available yet, but compare that to all of 2012 when only 2,000 rides were given all year.

"If we're doing our little part to make sure every student gets to their destination safer, if they have to travel at night, I'd want that to happen," Haws told FOX19.

If you need a ride with the NightRide program, call 513-556-RIDE.  Normal hours of operation for the service are 8PM to midnight, Sunday to Wednesday, and 8 PM to 2 AM, Thursday to Saturday.

To learn more about the program, visit: http://www.uc.edu/publicsafety/nightride.html

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