Students: worry no more. There is a new Student Government-led initiative providing students with a safe mode of transportation for late nights on campus.
GOTCHA Rides, which stands for “Green Operated Transportation Carrying Humanity Around”, is in full operation as of this week. With student-drivers and a “free ride but tips are welcome” policy, GOTCHA Rides is causing some buzz around campus.
The cars look like an extended version of a golf cart and can carry five people at any given time. They run from 7 PM to 2 AM, and are also run during game days.
One of, student body president, Johnelle Simpson’s main platforms is geared towards sexual violence and mental health. After a survey conducted by SGA last semester, they found that many students were feeling unsafe on campus while walking to their cars, or to and from class, late at night. They asked for better lighting, blue-emergency light posts, or anything that would mean more security and peace of mind.
With that being said, Johnelle and the SGA team paired up with UGA’s Auxiliary Services and were excited to bring the GOTCHA Rides to campus. “We were passionate about GOTCHA, we had the idea of GOTCHA- we were explaining everything we wanted, and then [Robert Holden] told us about GOTCHA was and then we went and looked GOTCHA up and it was everything we wanted, plus more! So it’s been a great working operation, and GOTCHA has been great company to work with.” Although Johnelle says he feels campus is already a safe place to be, he wants students to have peace of mind as well.
GOTCHA Ride’s student driver, Keke Wright was excited for the opportunity of not only making more money, but also being able to help students on campus feel safer. Although she told reporter Morgan Ainslie during an interview that she is carrying pepper spray just in case, she has felt safe in the mean time.
It is meant to be a fun experience, and students will be able to play their own music if they want, watch videos through the screens located on the back of each headrest.
GOTCHA rides are free, but they still pull in revenue through advertisements. UGA currently had three cars on campus, two of which are covered with advertisements for UGA Auxiliary Services, and The Niche Pizza. The cars can serve as movable advertisements and marketing for each company wishing to have it. Among the advertisers the GOTCHA Group has worked with, are Coca Cola, Pepsi, Dunkin’ Donuts, Mountain Dew, Lipton, Waffle House, and Whole Foods.