Northeastern Illinois University has turned to Uber to redefine to its campus-to-campus student shuttle service. The university will leverage Uber's voucher feature to provide free transport, with a valid student ID card, for students needing to travel between NEIU campus locations for class.
As reported by NEIU's student publication, The Independent, the new NEIU Ride With Uber initiative replaces a previous campus shuttle program that consisted of a single car with just six seats. That service was designated to only provide transport for students between the university's main and regional campuses. But in addition to being too small, the service was also only convenient for those students whose schedules happened to align with that of the shuttle's.
The NEIU Ride With Uber initiative has initially launched as a pilot program throughout the Fall 2019 semester, running from August 26 through December 14, to determine the viability of the program going forward. The program leverages Uber for Business' voucher feature, which enables a business or other entity to establish specific parameters around Uber rides and issue those rides to specified users.
NEIU's agreement will provide free Uber rides for students according to the following guidelines:
Because the service is meant solely for attending class, there will be date and time restrictions on the free Uber rides. To account for this, students must first complete the NEIU Ride With Uber request form, which had to be submitted by September 9 the last day of the add/drop window for class registration.
A valid Northeastern student ID card must also be presented at the time the NEIU Ride With Uber request form is submitted. The university says that a ride request form typically takes 24-48 hours to review and process.
On the university's side, the NEIU Ride With Uber request form is subject to enrollment verification and a review of class registration prior to approval. Once approved, NEIU issues a customized Uber voucher to the student.
A link to the customized Uber voucher is sent to the student’s university email address, and once the Uber voucher has been claimed, the student will be able to schedule free Uber rides during the specific dates and times aligning with their class schedule. NEIU is assuming the costs of all rides taken within the parameters established for each customized Uber voucher.