SafeRides will become a more exciting way to get around the neighborhood when Georgetown University Student Association launches a “Cash Cab”-like game in one of the service’s vans Thursday.
The program is intended to mimic the Discovery Channel game show, which poses trivia questions to unsuspecting taxicab passengers in New York City.
Each night during weekends, one SafeRides van is driven by a GUSA member. Students who are picked up by this van will have the opportunity to answer trivia questions and win prizes ranging from bottled water and sports drinks to gift cards and Georgetown Cupcakes.
According to GUSA Vice President Greg Laverriere (COL ’12), GUSA hopes that student interest in the game will reduce incidents of students calling SafeRides but leaving before the van arrives, which can cause the drivers to fall behind schedule. He also sees the game as a positive demonstration of student-administrator collaboration.
Once in the van, participants will be asked to list items in a single category, such as Major League Baseball teams, until they reach their destination. At the end of the ride, prizes will be awarded based on how many items the students were able to list.
GUSA plans to collaborate with The Corp and local businesses to provide prizes.
GUSA is working on a way to install lights, like those used in “Cash Cab,” that flicker when passengers enter to announce that they have been chosen to participate in the game.
The project was conceived by GUSA senator Bridget Power (COL ’12), Laverriere and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Augostini at a Hoya Roundtable event. Laverriere and Power have since been working with Augostini and the Department of Public Safety to make the game a reality.
Student participation in the game will be filmed and posted to the university and GUSA websites. Participants will sign two waivers, one when they enter the van and another the next day, in order to ensure consent.
“If [students] sign a waiver while they’re inebriated, then the next morning they might think better of it,”GUSA Senior Counselor Sam Ungar (COL ’12) said.
The videos will also be edited to show what GUSA deems to be the best clips instead of posting footage of entire SafeRides trips.
The program will debut Thursday, because SafeRides expects to receive fewer calls on a Thursday night than on weekend nights. According to Laverriere, it will serve as a test run, and the game will be moved to Friday nights as of next weekend.
“Ideally it would be something that would be expanded to each weekend night. We’d definitely love to do that,” he said.
GUSA’s collaboration with SafeRides is slated to continue through the end of the year, as is the new quiz game.
An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that the Office of the Chief Operating Officer would provide prizes for the test run of the program. The article has been revised to reflect correct information.