UCD Students’ Union Welfare Office Mícheál Gallagher is set to launch a new scheme, Slan Abhaile, to be run in partnership with the Students Union and the WINIcab taxi company.
The idea, which has been dubbed as ‘use now, pay later,’ was originally proposed by UCDSU President Rachel Breslin during her term as Welfare officer last year. “Last year, Rachel and WINIcabs met up to conceptualise it, and they also got into an agreement. There were just problems getting it off the ground last year, and that’s why it’s been backtracked by 12 months. Other things took priority in the university.” Gallagher also mentioned problems the WINIcabs company have been facing, which caused the delay, but declined to comment further on their current situation.
Gallagher believes the scheme will be beneficial to UCD students should it be widely used: “If you are on a night out, and you’re stuck for money, you can ring up Winnicabs and it will register you to the Slán Abhaile taxi service. At the end of your taxi journey, you hand over your student card and that is accepted as payment, then you can pop into the student centre at a designated time, and pay off your taxi fare at a time that suits you better. For example, if you lose money on a night out, you can ‘use now and pay later’ essentially, and it’s a very safe way to get people home from nights out. You will have to register to be a part of this taxi service at the start.”
Breslin chose to work with WINIcabs because they are very conscious of the safety of their passengers, which is particularly important when it comes to getting students home at night time. She explained they were established “on the whole ethos of being safe, so [the students] get a lot more of the personal details of the taxi drivers than other companies.”
Gallagher is optimistic regarding the official launch date: “We will be launching it soon, it’s still not fully launched and we’re just teething at the very last problems. I have very high hopes of it being in within the next couple of weeks, and I want to be able to say two weeks, but just in case there are any more problems, I would say during this semester.”
When the scheme launched last year, a reported 1,500 students signed up for it, so Gallagher is optimistic that the scheme will be a success when it officially launches.