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Lyft discount offers affordable ride alternative

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Lyft discount offers affordable ride alternative

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Myles Taste, Contributing Writer

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Lyft’s efforts to provide reliable transportation to students at a modest price has made getting to work for Madison King, a Heat Pizza employee and a senior majoring in marketing, much easier.

He said prior to his job at Heat Pizza located in downtown Tuscaloosa, he would have never

used the service habitually.

“Working at Heat and living in the Strip area can be stressful at times because I don’t have a car, but I still need to get to work on time,” King said. “Lyft makes this easier because of its quick response time and low prices it offers.”

Safety, affordability and reliability are three things Student Government Association President Price McGiffert said he values when it comes to student transportation.

As of Oct. 22, Lyft extended its services to The University of Alabama and paired it with a 15 percent discount for students with an additional 10 percent off on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The discount only applies to rides within two miles of the bus hub.

McGiffert, a senior majoring in civil engineering, began searching for an affordable ride-sharing program in early April of this year.

McGiffert said he was inspired by the University of Florida’s transportation department, which introduced its campus to Uber with a 50 percent discount for students. The University extended an open bid to ride-sharing programs, and Lyft ultimately won the contract.

“I didn’t have a particular preference in which ride-sharing service to incorporate necessarily,” McGiffert said. “My primary focus was safety for students and affordability. Lyft just especially met this criteria.”

According to USA Today, Lyft began targeting universities across the nation for patronage of its services in 2010. Its initial purpose was to provide students with a means of transportation to areas around or near their respective campuses.

However, the discount does have its restrictions. For example, Lyft will not offer the 10 percent discount for the last three home games of the UA football season.

“This is mainly for the safety of students and drivers,” McGiffert said. “Game days get pretty congested especially in the Strip area, which is why we took this precaution.”

On average, students will save an estimated 25 cents to a dollar for every ride they take with Lyft as a result of this discount. Even with the extra 10 percent discount being exempted from the last three home games, students will still receive the fixed rate of 15 percent off.

Other SGA officials are also highly pleased to hear about a safe, affordable ride-sharing program for UA students. Sen. Brookes Payne, a sophomore majoring in communication studies, said although he is not a frequent user of the Lyft service because he has a car, he is supportive of students being able to have access to such a resource if need be.

Payne also admired the program’s efficiency. He said by Lyft offering the additional 10 percent discount on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the UA community is served on a much more expansive scale.

“Lyft will be increasingly beneficial because of its competitive price and greater distances offered,” Payne said. “I don’t use it often, but when I do, it’s good to know that it will accessible and reasonably priced.”

Though he does not have access to the number of students who have used the discount since it became effective, McGiffert said students are excited about the new partnership with Lyft and that it is an important example of SGA and UA administration working together to satisfy students’ needs.

“Students want an affordable, reliable and convenient way to access transportation,” he said. “They now have it with the Lyft partnership. It is truly making a difference in their ability to get around this beautiful campus.”

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Lyft discount offers affordable ride alternative