The students manning the phones at the Hebrew Center on this January night are there to kick off the first night of the 2006 SafeRides season. The student-run program provides a free and confidential ride home to any student of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School who is not in a condition to drive safely or who wants to avoid being a passenger with an unsafe driver.


Teenagers who found themselves in trouble and needing a free ride home this year telephoned the SafeRides hotline at nearly twice the rate they did last year, according to statistics released this week.

The figures compiled by SafeRides of Martha's Vineyard show ridership jumped sharply compared to the numbers from last year. In the 20 weekend nights that the teen-run service operated this year, drivers picked up and drove home 177 of their peers. On average, that's about nine young people ferried home each night.


It would be the ideal night to kick off another season of SafeRides, but the student-run service that gives kids in trouble a free ride home won't be up and running this New Year's Eve. The service officially starts up Jan. 10.
Scores of high school students went to the prom Saturday night and then roamed the Vineyard looking for a party, and in the course of that night, at least seven figured out they were in some kind of trouble and needed a ride home.
A few minutes after the first bell yesterday morning at the regional high school, seniors Kurstin Meehan and Elise Chapdelaine stepped into a four-sided piece of cardboard painted to look like a car and went racing down the halls.