Universities and colleges contribute a huge amount to the night time economies in their towns and cities, but it also presents a range of student welfare issues.
Ensuring that students are able to return to their homes safely is crucial, and that’s what the University of Nottingham Students’ Union have taken action on with their new taxi scheme as part of Alcohol Impact.
“The Safe Taxi Scheme ensures that students can get home safely whatever the circumstance, whatever the time”, explains welfare officer Chloe Averill. “Some students may use this if they are drunk, while some may use it if they’ve had their purse or wallet stolen”.
“For us, whatever the reason they use the scheme, as long as they are getting home safely then that is what matters”
There are two aspects to the scheme. Firstly, the students’ union have negotiated a fixed price with a local taxi firm, meaning that any student who registers can get home from the city centre without any fear of being ripped off by being charged extortionately for a mile or two, as they had found was often happening.
An emergency taxi service has also been put into place, where students can get home without any cash at all, and pay for it at the students’ union the next day.
The scheme has been an amazing success, helping students to travel safely across the city late at night. Over 1,400 students have registered for the fixed price scheme already, with around ten having to had make use of the emergency offer.
“Knowing you can travel in confidence with a particular company, and exactly how much it's going to cost, leaves you to get on with enjoying your evening”, explains one student Bethan Copeland.
“I think the scheme has been a really positive addition to university this semester”.
When it comes to university nightlife, transport presents a range of issues around student welfare. But by building a constructive relationship with a trusted taxi service, the University of Nottingham Students’ Union have helped students ensure that their nights out are safe as well as enjoyable.