Winter sucks; use transportation services to their fullest

Danny Cozzi

There are two awful things about winter: Freezing cold temperatures and darkness setting in earlier. Not only are they annoying, they can also be dangerous, especially when you’re going to and from campus at night.

That’s why it’s important for every student to take advantage of the transportation services available at NIU. And no, I’m not suggesting anybody ride Tauntauns from Star Wars. DeKalb winters can compare to Hoth, but Star Wars fans know how well Tauntauns worked out for Han Solo.

Instead, first consider Late Night Ride. It’s a free driving service available to students to make sure they get to where they need to be safely. That’s especially useful when you find yourself stranded in the cold late at night, trudging home as DeKalb’s tornado-strength winds whip across your face. At least, that’s a situation I find myself in about once a week.

“The Late Night Ride Service provides free, door-to-door, no-questions-asked rides to NIU students on a daily basis, 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.,” according to the Department of Police and Public Safety website.

The only problem with Late Night Ride is the fact that because so many people rely on it, the lines tend to be pretty busy. That doesn’t discredit the service because overall it is pretty reliable, and when you get through it doesn’t take too long for a van to show up and get you out of the frigid cold.

But Late Night Ride is by no means perfect, and it’s important to realize you won’t be doomed to an icy death without it. DeCab Taxi is a great alternative that’s available to students.

“DeCab provides transportation services that will take students and customers anywhere they would [need to go],” said Steve Silverstein, owner and operator of DeCab Taxi.

Silverstein said the taxi service operates two vehicles: a basic cab for local trips, and a larger shuttle service that travels primarily to the Elburn train station. He also said a large percentage of DeCab’s customers live on campus.

“We’re gonna offer a late night service. We will run as late as student and customer need dictates,” Silverstein said.

The late night taxiing would run Thursdays to Saturdays, which can be especially beneficial to students working late or trying to get home after a dreaded night class.

But perhaps most importantly, the most reliable way of getting home safely this winter is calling a friend for a ride. Don’t force yourself to walk through a brutal DeKalb winter if you can find someone to pick you up. That goes the other way for students with cars, too. If you know someone who typically walks home at night, offer them a ride. It’s hardly a chore aside from braving the cold yourself for a little while.

Winters here aren’t only irritable and unnecessarily long, they cause serious weather conditions that pose a danger for anyone outside. Call Late Night Ride, Decab Taxi or a dependable friend. Don’t risk walking or taking a perilous Tauntaun ride.