Proposed bus system could reduce drunken driving

WILMINGTON -- A UNCW student proposed a late night bus system from downtown Wilmington Wednesday. The shuttle system is designed to get drunken drivers off the road. Wednesday the man behind the plan got a chance to tell downtown bar owners about his idea. UNCW student body president Dan Thorpe has been working on his proposal for months. A rough draft of the plan calls for a shuttle system to run from downtown Wilmington to on-campus residences and heavily populated areas of the city. The buses would run Thursday through Sunday from 1:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. Thorpe says a recent survey shows 21 percent of UNCW students have driven drunk in the past month. He hopes the statistics he presented today helps his plan pass. According to Thorpe Wave Transit would cover 50 percent of the shuttle costs. Thorpe says administrators at UNCW told him they will sign on for the program if they don't have to pay anything. Thorpe is sending out a survey to UNCW students in the next two weeks to get their feedback on the bus proposal.

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This is simple... It's a matter of education and responsibility! These students DO have ample transportation in the local taxi industry. The problem is NOT lack of transportation, it's lack of responsibility! These kids would rather drink up every dime of their money then complain that they have no way home because they can't afford a cab, are too impatient to wait a few extra minutes for an available cab or they simply drive. This year's new freshmen are the most stingy, most impatient, irresponsible and rude bunch I have seen. Instead of spending money giving them more transportation options, spend the money on educating them on responsibility, good judgement and patience!! This will go MUCH farther than providing them a cheap bus ride so they can drink more!! I thought UNCW was about EDUCATION, not transportation!! This is the ONLY real solution. One last thought... there have been FAR fewer DUI checkpoints this year than last year. The local law enforcement needs to step up and do more checkpoints. This will make these stupid students think before driving drunk and will teach a lesson to those who think they are fine to drive drunk (which I see happen EVERY NIGHT)! Several times a night I watch these kids STAGGER right past my EMPTY cab to their car or to one of the parking areas to get their car. So it's not a lack of transportation, it's a lack of good judgement!!
Now that the older, wiser and condescending folks have had their say, it is important to remind them that the UNCW Student Body President is an elected spokesperson for the student body (not the college administration), some 23,000 members of the Wilmington community. These students, lest you forget, contribute significantly to the economy of New Hanover County and the Wilmington area, some of them EVEN vote. The outspoken critics of the bus initiative very likely benefit personally in some way from the existence of UNCW. Dan Thorpe, as an elected representative is supposed to listen to his constituency and find ways to merge their concerns and desires with the competing interests of others. This is called democracy with its hallmarks, compromise and tolerance. Dan Thorpe has stated that this is not "a drunk" bus. It is a somewhat modest extension of an existing transportation system that is also a safety initiative. Yes, it may transport someone who has violated the law; it also might even save someone's life. We should ask some of the critics of the bus proposal if their TRUE desire is for all the UNCW students to stay on campus 24/7 or better still, they would be happier if they all went home! I applaud Dan Thorpe's courage to reach out to the greater community with an idea from the UNCW student body. He is not self-promoting; he is engaging in an open dialogue. This is leadership whether you agree with the proposal or not.
News flash for you all. Most kids at least try a drink at some point in their underage lives. I did, and I am sure each of you at least had a sip in your time. Any idea it takes to get drunk drivers off the road is a good idea whether or not they are of age. Card them at the bus stop if you must to see if they are underage but don't let them behind the wheel.
Why would anyone want to drive a bunch of drunk azz kids around on a bus. Does'nt sound like a job I would want. Call a Cab drunks, That's what they are for!!!
i think this is a good idea. If he is just wanting to help bus people back to campus and surrounding apartments from downtown; then in my view the responsibility for underage drinking falls back on the bars. They are the ones supposed to be checking ID's...right? He is just trying to get everyone drinking a safe ride home, not to mention the rest of us sober ones who would be on the road with the drunk drivers as we are now. Underage drinking falls on the outlets that sell it to make sure their customers are of age. What happens with it after it leaves the grocery or ABC store is anyones guess, but downtown the bars are supposed to cover their butts and make sure they do not serve to underage people. Then the whole fake ID thing comes into play, but that is a whole new can of worms.
Card all the students as they get on board and take them straight to JAIL if they are under 21. Call Mom and Dad wherever they are and tell them that Jr is not getting out till they pick them up personally. This idea is NOT what our tax dollars are for.
What world do you live in?!?!?! Why card people getting on a bus?? Last I knew, getting on a bus didn't require an ID, just fare. It's the responsibility of the establishments to ID patrons who wish to imbibe. If an additional bus route is NOT what our taxes are for, what are they for? The overtime paid to EMS crews who have to mop up a DWI accident at 2am??
apparently everyone up here is an adult with kids, and none of you can act like your kid hasnt had a drink underage... or wont, if they arent old enough yet. you yourself cannot act like you havent ever drunk underage. i think tango's idea is a great idea. its not like anyone can stop any of the underage drinking that is going on, theres too much of it, and regardless it is going to happen. if not at a club, then at an apartment, or a bar, etc. unless we want a continuation of people getting into their cars drunk, or having to call for a taxi drunk, and having the constant fear of getting hit by a drunk driver -- it could be a friend or family member -- then the taxi is the best situation. i cannot believe everyone is not behind this. apparently they dont want to keep their friends, family and loved ones safe.
My son is 23, he had his first drink at 21 with his Dad. Do not tell me I am kidding myself, he had better things to do and we raised him correctly. Also he does not drink now, neither does his wife. Just because you drink and drank underage does not mean that all people do it. We are not Christian fanatics either.
Using that logic, we can stop enforcing laws against armed robbery and murder, because they sure do seem to "happen!" The majority of students at UNCW are not of legal drinking age, and govenmental agencies have no business spending taxpayer money on helping them break the very laws those governments passed to make their consumption of alcohol illegal. I'll support the bus idea the minute the state drops the drinking age to eighteen. Until then, enforce the law and don't render assistance to people who are breaking it.
What Dan Thorpe is proposing is not only the responsible thing to do for the students, but also the whole community. By only taking students back from downtown and not taking them there, I don't see how he is promoting underage drinking, it seems that he is simply keeping those students who will drink off the streets. Of course, it is not "fixing" the problem of underage drinking (he is only the Student Bosy Presdient for UNCW, how can you expect for him to change something thats been going on forever) but it is alleviating the consequences of those students who drink so they will not continue to drink and drive. I suggest looking at his proposal and reading the statistics of drinking and driving on the UNCW campus and you should then realize that drinking and driving is a huge problem on our campus that needs to be dealt with. Furthermore, even if you still think he is being irresponsible by proposing this...I would like to congratulate him for proposing SOMETHING and trying to look after not his self-interests, but the interests of his constituents, the students at UNCW. Also, something to take into consideration is that this is not his initiative alone, the Wilmington Police Department is adamant about starting this because even they believe that this is something would greatly help the community of Wilmington.
The only problem is he's looking for someone else to pay for it rather than the ones who would use it, and besides this town is full of cabs for hire.
Mr.Thorpe, You can drive the FUN BUS, And Ames, You get to clean up the mess. Your both hired! How does $9.00 an hour sound? ............What,NO?... That's what I THOUGHT!
...then the UNCW Police and local law enforcement need to increase enforcement. Up until the early Eighties, North Carolina's drunk driving law was a national joke. If you hired an attorney you could enter "prayers for judgment" indefinitely, and keep on driving. You simply paid your attorney every time you got pulled. When we changed the law and became one of the toughest states in the union, our DWI rate plummetted. That's because most drunk drivers aren't helpless alcoholics, they're simply too selfish and lazy to get a cab or walk home. Unfortunately, we, like most states, haven't kept up with the times. DWI rates are up again simply because the penalties no longer seem severe, and we have too many loopholes. A $500 fine and restricted license represent a piddly nothing! Make the penalties for DWI so Draconian that no one will dare risk it, and you'll see the drunk driving rate plummet again. Very few UNCW students...or anyone with a brain, for that matter....would risk a $5k fine, twelve weekends in jail, and going a full year without a driver's license (no exceptions) for a first offense. DWI is a problem because we don't seriously punish those who are convicted of DWI. The law needs to be updated and made far more severe. Meanwhile, hauling their drunk, underage little fannies around is NOT in any way, shape, or form, punishing anyone. Indeed, it presents a very BAD life lesson to young people: "We can break the law, but they'll still coddle us."
As the wife of a WAVE Transit employee, I truly wonder how much research “campus leader” Mr. Thorpe did to come up with his $6000.00 price tag for running this bus or shuttle for 2 hours a night, for 3 nights every weekend. Does, Mr. Thorpe have any idea what it takes to put just one of these buses or shuttles on the road EVERY day? Does he think that all that would be required for this is for a bus driver to go to the garage on Castle St., start up the bus or shuttle and off he goes? Guess again. In order for a bus or shuttle to run from 11:30 - 1:30 every weekend it would require of course a driver for each of the buses/shuttles that were put on the road and you would need at least 2 shuttles on the road to make this work. There also has to be a dispatcher on duty so that the drivers can communicate problems, breakdowns, security issues, etc. to someone who must be available to assist the driver if any of these occur. Enter the mechanic that must be on duty should the bus/shuttle break down. The mechanic must bring the driver a different vehicle to use if necessary, and then take the broken down vehicle back to the garage where the bus/shuttle MUST be repaired before the mechanic could go home that night because that same vehicle must be available to be put back into service at 5 AM that morning. You would also need to have a cleaner on duty to clean the inside of the shuttles (which includes all of the vomit and other body fluids left behind by the inebriated passengers, not to mention the trash, food and countless other items left behind) so that they are clean when they go back on the road in a couple of hours. Has Mr. Thorpe considered the issue of security for the driver of the bus/shuttle? The only link they have to assistance if a fight breaks out (I can't imagine that happening with a bunch of drunks on board can you), someone shows a weapon, someone harasses the driver to the point where they do not feel safe...did I mention that most of the drivers for WAVE Transit are female...is a panic button linking them to the police and the 2-way radio linking them to the dispatcher and mechanic back at the offices & garage. Has Mr. Thorpe thought about the reality of hiring drivers for this shift? He wants the bus service to run from 11:30PM to 1:30AM which means that the driver would have a shift of 11:00PM to 2:00AM...would Mr. Thorpe like to work this shift, as I am sure there would be openings available!! Most likely however, he would be out partying with his friends and then he would need the services of the bus driver, dispatcher, mechanic, and cleaner when he was ready to go home. Maybe he thinks that the 2nd shift drivers, who have just finished their shifts when the buses stop running at midnight on weekdays and 10PM on Saturday night, should just hang around till 11:00PM so they can start the DUI Avoidance Route and stay until everyone is safely tucked in their beds at 2AM? This would mean that the 2nd shift dispatcher, mechanic, and cleaner would have to stay also (I just don't think you are going to find someone who will work for 3 hours a night, 3 nights a week, in the middle of the night, with a bunch of drunks) would all have to get paid overtime along with the driver, and be away from their families and friends for 12 hours instead of the usual 8 and a half. I would again like to offer the position to Mr. Thorpe. The article states that Mr. Thorpe is a senior. This would put him at approximately 21-22 years old… at least it is legal for him to drink. What he is proposing, would make WAVE Transit employees responsible for the safe passage of many underage drinkers, hence making it appear that WAVE transit supports underage drinking. I personally feel it is time for Mr. Thorpe and his friends to grow up. If you think you are mature enough to drink responsibly, and I would hope so since you will be graduating in the spring and leaving the protection of campus life to go out in the world, get a job, & make adult decisions everyday...then you should be mature enough to make plans for a Designated Driver, take a taxi, have friends you can call to take you home, or whatever other method of drinking responsibly that he chooses, as an adult. The article also states that WAVE transit will pay 50% of the cost to keep these vehicles on the road and the employees needed at the offices & garage at the posts....EXACTLY who at WAVE Transit made this generous offer? According to the morning paper, Albert Eby, director of WAVE Transit states, "he did not have an official position until the university administration contacted him with a request." That does not sound to me like he offered to pay 50% of the costs of this "service". Also since when was “The shuttle system is designed to get drunken drivers off the road.” I was under the understanding that the shuttle system was there to get students to and from campus for classes and related campus activities. Since when did WAVE Transit become the designated driver. Even UNCW’s Carolyn Farley, executive directive for campus life was quoted as saying, “the university would not likely fund the program although it does pay for shuttles for students coming and leaving campus for classes. Buses for socializing would be a different matter.” She also stated, “I don’t think the university is prepared to be in that business, our business is education.” That “$6000.00” would be much better spent by enforcing that no alcohol be served or sold to minors by the bars, grocery stores, convenience stores in the area, educating all entering freshman of the responsibility that comes along with drinking and how to make adult decisions about drinking, including the available alternatives to drinking and driving that now exist. Also, I would think that as a “campus leader”, Mr. Thorpe might be better off promoting legal drinking, smart, adult decision making, and safe alternatives that are already available, than promoting underage (illegal) drinking by making it even easier to avoid the consequences of poor teenage decision making.
I could NOT have said it any better than what you have said OceanMyst561... I agree with you on what you said 1 trillions times over...
i agree with oceanmyst561.im a former driver/dispatcher for one of the local taxi companies and you wouldn't believe what we have to put up with.the lil'drunks from cussing to vomitting,threating the drivers an so forth i don't think a shuttle bus is a good idea we've had 2 or 3 private shuttles try it in the past but they didn't work out. (wonder Why ?)then again why should we the tax payers have to foot the bill to get their drunk butts home.
Our "campus leader" has actually met with WAVE transit several times and has been assured that this is something WAVE wants to happen. In the meetings with them, he was told that WAVE has been discussing the idea of a bus similar to this since 2001, reinforcing the idea that this is something that the company wants. WAVE's willingness to participate in the shuttle system proves that they will do whatever it takes to help UNCW deal with the problem of drinking and driving. Albert Eby actually did offer to pay 50% of the costs (it is documented in the minutes taken from the meeting) and is only saying that due to the fact that he cannot formally say this until the administration gives the go ahead for the plans to be set in motion. He is all for the program and is actually excited that is so close to being accomplished.
If albert eby committed tax payer resources to students who are breaking the law or who are intoxicated looking for a "free ride" home from a night of not doing what they are here for instead of spending every waking hour of his day trying to find better routes for our working poor and ways to increase hours for our main line workers, then he needs to be summarily fired without any other discussion. Effective immediately. I hope these youth are lying or misrepresenting these discussions as this is outrageous when our hour wage earners cannot find transportation as it is!
That has to be the longest post in WWAY history. I wish I could read it, but I have to be home by five...
Clearly Mr. Thorpe wishes to self promote and is interested. However, interested in our city and protecting students is NOT evident in this proposal. How dare he suggest that the CITY would pay for this when the students he represent are VERY priviledged and flush with student fees and could pay for their own transportaion and unbelievably he is advocating for something that does not address the impact underage and excessive drinking has on on our city. Here he is is promoting more of a way to promote bad activity and make it more accessible! His ideas are a disgrace and I hope UNCW is paying attention.
This is an ignorant idea. And when I say 'ignorant' I mean it's because the Student Body President is ignorant of facts. The majority of students who live on campus are underage. Why is he condoning underage drinking and trying to get the community to support it? It's an idealist program that is going to waste money, especially because people won't use it. When it comes down to it, people don't want to leave their cars downtown. Because I don't want to leave just a negative comment, here's how to make something like this work. Market this program to ALL students by having buses leave Campus beginning and like 9pm and running between downtown and the Campus until 3am. And then have that DD company (I forget its name) drive the students' car back to the students' apt.
So in other words, the state, county, and city are admitting that they cannot or will not do anything about minors consuming alcohol? We'll simply help them out by allowing them to drink without the worry of getting popped for a DWI? This is how we should spend taxpayer money? This is absolutely no different than an employer hiring an illegal alien. "Hey, they're already here, right? We might as well use them to our advantage. Who cares if they're breaking the law." Exact same logic - "Hey, they're going to drink anyway. We may as well make it easier for them, and help them avoid the consequences." Why do we even legislate laws anymore? We're moving toward institutionalized anarchy. "The law is the law....unless it's an inconvenience for you."
A Great Idea, although this will cost the taxpayers money getting drunk drivers off the road is money well spent especially compared to the way city council usually throws tax money away.
Actually, with as many fines imposed for DUIs, those fines could fund this. Nothing wrong with the "students" paying for the service, either.