Charity Ball leaves students stranded in cold

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John Prata // GAZETTE

Like hundreds of others, I left the ball Saturday night around 2 a.m. — long after the LTC had ceased to be relevant — and stood in the sub-zero temperature with a herd of alcohol-addled students jostling and begging for a taxi. Living nowhere near the London Convention Centre, and accompanied by my high heel-clad girlfriend, a form of transportation was extremely important. In addition, we had to look on as Charity Ballers dangerously darted into traffic, desperate to flag down a vehicle that would take them home.

People shoved and shouted about who was entitled to the sparse cabs that passed, and there was more than one ill-dressed individual who broke down in tears after an extended time standing in the cold. Eventually, with no taxi in sight, we had to plead with a sleepy roommate to come fetch us. Truly, this spectacle lacked the classic formality Charity Ball strives so hard to attain.

While it’s tempting to place the blame on London’s terrible public transit and under-equipped taxi companies, the more significant responsibility should fall on the hands of Charity Ball’s organizers who clearly failed to properly assess the transportation needs of attendees.

It was not merely the lack of vehicles that was the problem, it was also the fact that the Convention Centre locked the doors shortly after 2 a.m. So, instead of being able to wait in the warm entrance way, under-clad students, many in scanty dresses, had to stand uncomfortably in the cold. Had this been one of the seriously cold days only recently passed, it wouldn’t have been a matter of discomfort; it would have been a matter of illness and injury.

Next year, above all else, this problem needs to be mitigated. Hiring a shuttle service, or even arranging for a cab company to have frequent drive-bys would help. Alternatively, arranging for a warm place to wait while the cabs come would help prevent the distress that so many Charity Ballers, myself included, felt on Saturday night.

  • Odre Lefebvre

    Last year they had shuttles and this year they cheaped out. As to people mentioning simply walking to Richmond- I was the “sleepy roommate” that picked up my roommates close to Richmond and Oxford at 3:30am- they had walked all the way there and still couldn’t get a cab! The roads were super dangerous, there was police EVERYWHERE and people were so desperate for a ride I had people literally jumping in front of my car or not letting me go once the light turned green by standing in front of it out of desperation.

  • Lyndsay

    The mustang express would have been nice, except not all of the guests were Western students so they couldn’t use the service. And I’m not leaving my boyfriend and some of my friends behind.

  • Michelle

    I do agree that the event was disorganized, mostly in terms of the lineup for coatcheck/entry, where I waited for over an hour. I left a little earlier than 2am so I can’t say I experienced the cab issue. But did people forget about the mustang express? It’s literally a 3 minute walk to Richmond street. My friends and I just traded our heels for the boots we brought and hopped on a shuttle within a few minutes. I can’t understand why nobody else realized they could do this. Maybe it would have been a good idea to get some extra mustang shuttles to pass by the ball. As for closing the doors, they shouldn’t have done that. But honestly, people should know to wear jackets and boots in this weather.

  • Cameron Michael Smith

    If you were wearing pants and shoes without high heels, then you may have had a different experience than over half of the attendees.

  • C.D.

    Am I the only one who remembered I had legs and walked to Richmond? Seems to me like a classic case of entitlement issues. I had a blast, don’t have any complaints, except for the other selfish students trying REALLY hard to get in front of me in line.

  • Brandon Pedersen

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Another contributing factor to the disappoint of Charity Ball was the long lineup for coat check. Myself and others waited for approximately 45 minutes BEFORE bribing a worker with $20 to check our coats. Surely, the organizers of Charity Ball can fix this problem for next year. Besides the hassle of checking our coats and finding a mode of transportation home, the event was a fun time. Hopefully they can fix these issues for future events.

  • A.J.

    Was transportation to and from the event part of the cost to attend?