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UA News
LifeLine's free rides promote irresponsibility

By Widlcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 16, 2002

The LifeLine program, which debuted this past weekend, may sound like a lifesaver for stranded drunk students without a ride home, but that convenience is outweighed by the fact that it rewards irresponsibility.

Distribution of LifeLine cards to the entire campus is continuing this week, and once people have a card, they will be able to call a toll-free number for a free cab ride in an emergency.

It sounds generous, but it is tacitly providing an incentive to drink irresponsibly.

By instituting this program, student government is giving a wink and a nod to people headed out to parties and bars without a plan to get home.

Supposedly, it's only for use in emergencies, and people are only allowed to use it to get home, to a police station or to a hospital. But there's no limit to the number of times someone can use a card.

That means people don't even have to discriminate between an emergency and an inconvenience. Their "emergency" could be that they are too lazy or cheap to look for a ride home or fork over cab fare.

Students who are willing to spend money getting drunk ought to spend their own money paying for a cab.

The program is not that expensive: Student government was only responsible for paying $2,700 in startup expenses money that came from student fees.

Now that LifeLine is up and running, though, it is self-supporting, paying for itself through advertising on the cards.

So the major issue here is more than the cost: The issue is that this program is rewarding irresponsibility among college students people not exactly known for their temperance.

For years, ASUA has kept its SafeRide shuttle service inoperable on weekends precisely so it wouldn't become a shuttle for drunks. Now, in an astonishing show of dissonance, they are supporting a program that is exactly that.

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