The University of Idaho has partnered with Uber to offer as many as two free rides per day to each student on its Moscow campus.
With the hopes of increasing on-demand transportation options, the new program launched in November is offering completely subsidized trips for the duration of its trial run, which ends next month.
After the trial period, rides will be partially subsidized. Each ride currently costs the university about $12, according to Rebecca Couch, director of UI Transportation and Parking Services.
“The program will continue beyond January, it’s just that the subsidization amount will change,” Couch said. “It will no longer be 100 percent. Based on data that we received during this period and how it’s being used, we will adjust that subsidization.”
The trip options include as many as two rides per day within a 2-mile radius of campus, two rides per day between UI and Washington State University and one ride per day to or from the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport.
So far, about 150 rides have been delivered. However, a driver shortage is making it more difficult to implement the program.
According to Couch, more than 500 rides have been requested and not fulfilled.
“We haven’t heard a lot of feedback from students on that, but we are able to see there are a lot of rides being requested that are not fulfilled because there’s not a driver available at the time,” she said. “We just hope to see that grow as more drivers come aboard.”
The program was devised by UI’s student government and UI Parking and Transportation Services.
Couch said ASUI senators reached out to her last spring about providing the transportation option and helping to bolster student employment opportunities.
“It jives with our mission at Parking and Transportation Services to provide options for students to get around,” she said. “We’re working to help create a campus where you can come to college without having to bring a personal vehicle.”
The three different routes within the program are intended to get students from campus to services in the community and to get students in off-campus residences to campus.
The route between Moscow and Pullman will provide a transportation option where there previously wasn’t one, she said.
“We’re always looking for new opportunities for alternative transportation programs,” Couch said. “It was a good fit to partner with Uber and ASUI on launching it and we’ll see it takes off.”
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