Hop on in for safety!
Hallie Milano dreads late nights alone on the subway.
Friends’ muggings made Milano, 23, fear early morning treks home from the downtown tapas bar where she bartends.
“Sometimes when it’s 2 a.m., you don’t want to be on the subway with all the crazies,” she said, adding that a $25 cab tab takes a chunk from her tips.
So early one Saturday morning, she called RightRides, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit offering free rides home to single women and LGBTQ people.
The group, which started in 2004, just added service on Fridays and expanded to 45 neighborhoods in four boroughs. They hope to reach more areas, but first are raising money for a new $10,000 dispatch system.
Founder Oraia Reid, 34, started the group after horrific attacks against women walking home alone in Williamsburg, where she lived. “Rather than shut myself off, I really wanted to do something,” she said.
She began giving people lifts on her own, and soon two volunteers became 200 — all who help New Yorkers vulnerable to gender-based violence get home safely.
Milano’s ride to Astoria seemed lavish — no cabdriver haggling and pleasant chatter with Jes Howen, 25, a volunteer for the midnight-to-3 a.m. shift. Howen, too, confessed nighttime nerves.
“For me, taking the subway isn’t as bad as the walk,” she said.
Volunteers like Howen pick up transgender people, gay men and often young women like Milano, waiting to ensure passengers get inside their home.
By the numbers
People shuttled home since 2004
Calls on Friday nights
Calls on Saturday nights
Cost for Ride
Active volunteers as of January 2010
Active volunteers as of January 2011
Sign up to volunteer or donate at rightrides.org. Call for a ride at 888-215-SAFE.
» Jan. 22: Sixth annual tribute to James McNaughton, a NYPD officer killed in Iraq. Stop by Mulcahy’s Pub & Concert Hall in Wantagh, LI, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. for free food and music.
» Jan. 23: Ladies, you have until Jan. 23 to sign up for the NYC Alzheimer’s Association’s first annual “Blondes vs. Brunettes Tackle Alzheimer’s” flag-football game. To sign up, visit www.alz.org/nyc.
» Feb. 3: Cocktail party at Apella to benefit Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a no-fee camp for kids with cancer and serious blood diseases. Tickets $125 ($150 after Jan. 26); get them at www.richinlove.org.