In the fall of 2017, Uber released a new payment method designed to bring rides to mobile college students. This new feature allows students at participating universities to utilize their campus accounts to pay for their rides.
Since its start in March of 2009, the global taxi technology company, Uber, became a trusted source of transportation for busy commuters, late night party-goers and many carless PLNU freshmen’s saving grace.
“It’s been a huge adjustment not having a car,” said freshman MOCM major Mallory Marshall, “Uber is my go-to for touring the city, visiting my friends at [San Diego] State, and taking care of off campus class required assignments. This semester alone, I have to visit three concerts for my music class! So Uber will be my best friend, to say the least.”
With Point Loma’s strict freshmen-no-car policy, at least one fourth of the undergraduate student body are fully reliant on alternate forms of transportation when they need to get off campus.
PLNU freshman, exercise sports and science major Nico Anderson, said transportation options for getting off campus are a must. Anderson prefers to utilize PLNU’s on campus affiliated Zip Car as his primary form of off campus commuting due to the convenience. Although the $8 per hour cost connected to his personal card on file is definitely an expense, says Anderson.
With a regional average of $5 per ride, Uber is arguably slightly more economical than Zip Car’s $8 per hour. Round trip costs to and from campus can rack up quickly for penny-pinching college students. This is what makes Uber’s new college-minded payment option intriguing to its university partners and students, alike.
Today, Uber is teamed with 29 universities across the country to bring their students the option to use their campus cards to pay for off campus travels. A list of which PLNU is not currently of.
The number of those utilizing Uber’s new program may be reflective of the program’s infancy. Schools like PLNU’s Los Angeles neighbor, Loyola Marymont University uses their LMU OneCard to connect with Uber; University of San Francisco applies Don’s Dollars for ride costs as does Univerity of Texas: Dallas’ Comet Cash; and even across to the east coast, Florida International University’s FIU OneCard lets students cover Uber costs. These are just among the few who advertise their partnership with Uber’s new program.
The common thread between these universities? Their campus credit systems. All the Uber campus-credit affiliates operate their student accounts off a Blackboard or CBORD-based campus credit system. Being that PLNU utilizes Blackboard for our own campus credit, via SeaLion Dollars, Loma would be eligible for partnership.
Student financial advisor Monique Gonzales says that this is the first she had heard of Uber’s campus-credit program. While administration is still looking further into the possibility of providing this service to Loma students, Gonzales said that conceivably, the expense of rides would come out of a student’s SeaLion Dollars in their account. On the financial accounting side, this would make the most sense considering ride expense acts separate from a student’s meal plan, as provided by Sodexo, says Gonzales.
“SeaLion Dollars are reloadable by the student, making the amount of Uber rides they would hypothetically use campus credit toward, unlimited. Should enough students show interest in this service Uber now provides, that would definitely call our attention toward making it possible,” said Gonzales.
While PLNU is still taking partnership with Uber on this new feature under advisement, students interested in making Loma number thirty on Uber’s campus-credit affiliate list can petition to do so via Uber.com. Students can go to uber.com/campus-card/schools/ to “Join the Waitlist” to be the first to know if and/or when this option is made available.
To learn more about Uber’s Campus-Credit feature and how it works, students should visit https://www.uber.com/info/campuscard-faqs/.