OSU to end Safe Ride program, enters partnership with Lyft

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio State University is partnering with Lyft to offer students a safe and discounted option to travel on or near campus, during the evening hours.

Beginning Thursday, the university will contribute five dollars to eligible students’ rides, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. Riders will be responsible for the remainder of their fare, which university leaders estimate to be approximately two dollars.

The partnership will replace the university’s long-running Safe Ride Program. The university expects the program to reduce the amount of time students wait for rides to their destinations, and serve a larger portion of the student population.

“With the Safe Ride program, the wait times were anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes,” said Dan Hedman, a university spokesman. “With Lyft, we expect them to be five to ten minutes on wait times, so students will be outside waiting for their vehicle for less than they were before.”

According to the university, user demand outgrew the service capacity of the Safe Ride program.

Lyft will provide 10,000 rides per month to eligible OSU students. Once those rides are exhausted, normal fares will apply.

The university is stressing safety, as the new program launches. Leadership is providing these tips for students:

  • Follow the Lyft vehicle on GPS via the app.
  • Visually confirm vehicle info/descriptions matches information in the Lyft app, (license plate, model, etc.).
  • Match the color: Most Lyft drivers have a dashboard display that acts as a beacon, changing color to match the rider’s app and help identify their Lyft more easily.
  • Ask the driver to say who they are picking up.
  • If you feel unsafe, leave the area and contact law enforcement

Students interested in the discounted rides can download Lyft through the Ohio State app. Those using the service, must select a “shared ride” when requesting transportation.

To qualify for the discounted rate, all rides must start and end inside the designated service area:

  • North to Hudson Street
  • South to Fifth Avenue
  • East to Conrail railroad tracks (past North Fourth Street)
  • West to North Star Road
  • North boundary west of Olentangy River Road is Ackerman Road

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