University Launches Uber, SafeRides Discount Pilot

Students who request a SafeRide van on the LiveSafe application in the next two weekends will receive a $5 Uber discount code if the wait time for a van exceeds 15 minutes, as part of a pilot program to help more students get to campus safely announced by Georgetown University Police Department Chief Jay Gruber on Wednesday.

The program, which was a collaborative effort by GUPD, Uber and the Georgetown University Student Association, will be applicable to rides that start and end within the SafeRides zone that includes Burleith, Foxhall and most of west Georgetown.

During the two trial weekends, the Burleith loop and the west Georgetown loop, which run continuously between these areas and campus, will not operate. The SafeRides point-to-point van will operate as usual.

According to Gruber, the university had a limited amount of promo codes available to use throughout the pilot program.

Vice President of Public Affairs Erik Smulson said the program was designed to help more students get back to campus safely.

“Our goal in the pilot program is to reduce the wait times and to provide more students with safe transportation options late at night,” Smulson wrote in a statement to The Hoya. “We’ve worked hard with Uber and the GUSA leadership to develop a pilot program that is easy for students to use and gets them home safely.”

Gruber said he is excited for the program to launch.

“I’m very excited about that. I want to provide service for the students so they feel safe when they are out in the neighborhoods,” Gruber said. “I think it’s interesting. [University of Southern California] does it, University of Florida does it, there are several schools that are doing it and Uber has a model for it.”

Ari Goldstein (COL ’18), GUSA deputy chief of staff for master planning and community engagement, said GUSA is responding to student concerns about the SafeRides program.

“Students for years have been saying SafeRides is broken and we all know that it’s not that well utilized or it’s utilized by the wrong people, there are not enough vans, the wait times can be long,” Goldstein said. “It’s not an efficient system and it hasn’t been fulfilling the purpose to the extent that it was intended to.”

GUSA Dining and Auxiliary Services Policy Team Chair Mark Camilli (COL ’19) said GUSA wants to ensure the program is a success.

“I know GUSA really wants to push this program out hard over the next two weekends, and they really want to make sure students know its available,” Camilli said.

Emily Belson (SFS ’18) said she believes the university is making strides to improve the SafeRides program.

“I have experienced long wait times for SafeRides in the past, so I appreciate the efforts of the University to try to combat this issue,” Belson said.

Gabe Bolio (SFS ’18), who has used SafeRides in the past, said he supports the changes.

“It just makes sense. I like that Georgetown cares enough about its students to partner up with Uber on this,” Bolio said, “I like how this system gives you the option to choose to wait [for SafeRides] or just go ahead and take an Uber.”

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