The Tea: Night Owl routes provide a necessary alternative to beeping

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The Tea: Night Owl routes provide a necessary alternative to beeping

Tommy Mozier, Opinion Editor

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The new AppalCart Night Owl service is long overdue. After relying on an unofficial, student-run system of designated drivers, App State students and Boone residents can finally use a more consistent and safer way to travel at night Thursdays and the weekends.

The Boone student beeper system benefits many students and members of the community, myself included, as an easy income supplement and a relatively safe way to get to and from parties, work, the grocery store or wherever the rider needs to go for only a couple dollars. 

Of course, there are obvious risks in to getting into a stranger’s car. Although they are far between, reports of attempted sexual assault, harrassment and beepers driving under the influence periodically appear on the Boone Student Beeper Facebook page. 

The online beeper community typically does a good job of identifying offenders and removing them from the group, but the system still relies on crowd-sourced enforcement. With no official way to report bad drivers, we have no way of knowing if other offenses go unreported. We can’t fire beepers for malpractice. We just have to trust the person driving us.

The beeper system grew out of the necessity for designated drivers in a college town. It’s not perfect but better than having more drunken drivers on the roads. However, the system will only endure as long as public transportation or ride-share companies do not fill the designated driver void in Boone.

AppalCart has shown it is willing to fill that void. The Night Owl bus routes will not replace beeping yet; they aren’t extensive enough. Until Uber, Lyft or another ride-share company has a significant presence in Boone, the system will endure. But, AppalCart has provided students with a much needed beeper alternative, should we choose to use it.