The cancellation of Texas State’s Students with Alternative Transportation (S.W.A.T.) program in 2009 has left a gap in the city’s efforts to encourage safety on the roads. It has been shown that young Texas die at a much greater rate from injuries sustained in alcohol-related auto crashes than the rest of the population.
There were 25,032 alcohol-related crashes that resulted in 1,057 deaths in 2010. Those crashes resulted in 16,877 injuries. The 20- to 25-year-old group in Texas accounts for only about 9 percent of the state’s overall population. In 2010, 24 percent of people killed in alcohol-related crashes in Texas were between the ages of 20 and 25.
AJ DeGarmo, Associated Student Government president, said the failure of the S.W.A.T. program twice in the past has led his administration to reevaluate the system for the community. DeGarmo said non-students could utilize a potential program if the city is willing to partner with the university to share the manpower and costs of transportation.
San Marcos recently missed the 50,000 person population landmark when the 2010 Census numbers were finalized. That level of population would have qualified the city for municipal transit dollars from the federal government. The dollars would have been used to purchase buses for public, city-wide transportation which would severely help keep drunken students and young adults safe. As such, city officials are now looking at a $200,000 price tag for a night bus service.
The lack of taxi services, late night bus routes and volunteers as well as the price of gas and maintenance car costs contribute to the difficulties of finding a functioning safe-ride project. There would need to be 50 to 100 volunteers to take people home from the bars each night, which was another reason why the original S.W.A.T program failed.