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Gopher Chauffeur now includes Thursday service

Two vehicles will run 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., beginning tonight

November 21, 2013

What: Media availability to announce expansion of Gopher Chauffeur service
When: Thursday, Nov. 21, 1 – 1:45 p.m.
Where: Boynton Health Service lobby, 410 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis
Who: Ferdinand Schlapper, Boynton Health Service (BHS) director and chief health officer; Julie Sanem, BHS director of health promotion; Amelious Whyte, assistant dean of students and chief of staff; Mike Schmit, Minnesota Student Association president; two Gopher Chauffeur student employees

University of Minnesota students in need of a safe ride home on a Thursday night can now utilize the Gopher Chauffeur service, beginning tonight.

Two vehicles will operate from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. to pick up and drop students off at residences on or near the University’s East Bank, West Bank, and St. Paul campuses as well as Uptown Minneapolis (drop off only).

To schedule a pick up, students should call (612) 388-6911, 30 minutes before their preferred pick-up time.

"Demand for the Gopher Chauffeur is at a record high right now – we’re up more than 550 rides this semester alone," said Ferdinand Schlapper, Boynton Health Service director and chief health officer. "Adding service to cover three nights per week is an important and necessary step that will allow us to offer more students a safe ride home."

Currently operating on Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., the Gopher Chauffeur has given nearly 4,500 students a safe ride home so far this semester. On an average weekend, more than 420 students use this free service.

"Adding Thursday night Gopher Chauffeur service provides another safe option for students who need transportation off campus" said Amelious Whyte, assistant dean of students and chief of staff in the Office of Student Affairs. "Now is the right time to do this, given the increased demand for the service and our continued focus on keeping students safe."

In addition to tonight, the Thursday night service will also be available Dec. 5 and Dec.12 before halting temporarily during winter break.

Service will then resume on Jan. 23, 2014.

The expanded service is paid for through reserve funds of the Gopher Chauffeur program and student service fees, and will cover operations through the 2014-15 academic year.

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