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Beyond the News

College students hail safe, subsidized rides

University Business, April 2018
TRAVEL BENEFIT—Assumption College (above) and other institutions are offering their students discounted rides with services such as Uber.
TRAVEL BENEFIT—Assumption College (above) and other institutions are offering their students discounted rides with services such as Uber.

Discounted Lyft and Uber rides present a transportation alternative for students on a growing number of campuses large and small.

One of the latest to add this ride-hailing option is Assumption College, which lies beyond the bus lines on the scenic west side of Worcester, Massachusetts. In February and March, the school paid $4 of every Uber ride students took to specified locations, including a city restaurant district, shopping center, movie theater and train station.

“We really wanted students to experience the beauty of Worcester,” says Catherine WoodBrooks, Assumption’s vice president for student affairs. “Most students now, when they want transportation, it’s Uber.”

Students also get free rides to other college campuses where they are taking classes. The program is funded by activities fees and a student affairs transportation fund.

As of mid-March, the college was considering whether to extend the program through the end of the school year.

Ride-hailing agreements at Assumption and many other schools originate with students and are negotiated by student leaders.

At the University of Central Florida in Orlando, the student government negotiated $5 discounts for Lyft rides students take on Friday and Saturday nights within a 2-mile radius of campus. Each student can take up to 20 discounted trips between popular night spots and housing areas.

Safe travel is a main goal of the agreement. “It reduces accidents and anything else that can happen along the way,” says Stephanie Alfonso, director of communications for Central Florida’s Student Government Association. “And students really appreciate it, because discounts help when you’re on a college budget.”