Budget Rental lends van to aid Escort Service
To help alleviate some of the ASUA Escort Service pick-up delays, Budget Car and Truck Rental of Tucson has offered use of a van to the financially struggling organization.
"In the past two weeks our demand has shot up 40 percent," said Rachel Reinhardt, director of the Associated Students Escort Service.
Reinhardt estimated that the Escort Service was averaging 220 calls every night the service operates, but that number has recently jumped to 300 requests for rides each night.
The Escort Service currently utilizes two electric carts, a car and a van. Both of the carts are four years old and typically run two to three hours before having to be recharged, Reinhardt said.
ASUA Adviser Jim Drnek said one of the problems the Escort Service has is a shortage of vehicles.
"A lot of the problems we have - like Coronado - is we'll have 20 people who want to go in 20 different directions, and that takes up a lot of our vehicles," he said.
As a result, Drnek spoke with Gloria Smith, University of Arizona director of development in student life, about seeking additional help.
"Jim (Drnek) said that there had been an increase in the numbers of calls for safe rides, and it was very difficult for ASUA and Escort Services to keep up with that demand," Smith said. "Another vehicle would be able to address the increased demand."
Smith, who said she has a long standing relationship with Budget, explored ideas on how to resolve the problem.
"I told them about our immediate need and that was for the safety concern we have on campus," she said. "I was hoping they could help us in augmenting the transportation we have on campus."
After hearing about some of the standing concerns on campus, Budget agreed to lend the organization one van with no charge.
The new vehicle, a 1999-2000 Ford Windstar, will come from Budget Car and Truck Rental of Tucson, 3085 E. Valencia Road, Marketing Director Conrad Masterson said.
"The main reason we're giving it is because there has been a large increase in the usage of escort service," Masterson said. "I'm not sure why so many more people are using it (other) than the increased awareness, (but) we are helping to fill the need there."
The new van will be loaned to the Escort Service but the UA will have to return the van early every morning to a drop-off site.
"We're not giving the vehicle away, we are giving them the use of the vehicle," Masterson said. "Otherwise, they basically have it all the time."
Legal risk management documents are stalling the arrival of the new van, however, the initial use is expected next week, Drnek said.