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Ohio State, Lyft offer students discounted late-night transit

A partnership between ride share app, Lyft, and Ohio State University will provide students at the Columbus campus a new late-night travel option. The Lyft Ride Smart at Ohio State service went live on August 1st, and provides discounted rides between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.

According to an official university release, Lyft Ride Smart replaces the Ohio State’s previous Safe Ride program after user demand outgrew the service’s capacity.

“The new program will reduce wait times and allow Ohio State to serve a larger portion of our student population,” says Beth Snoke, director of Transportation and Traffic Management at Ohio State University. “This new service offering is a direct result of our work with the Undergraduate Student Government and adds a transportation option our students have been requesting for years.”

Each month, Lyft will allot 10,000 discounted rides to Ohio State students on a first-come, first-served basis. Ohio State University will contribute $5 per ride, with the remainder of the discounted fare being paid by the student rider. The average cost of a Lyft Ride Smart fare is expected to be $2 or less.

Once the monthly allotment of 10,000 discounted rides is exhausted, Lyft’s normal service rates will apply for the remainder of the month. As with normal rides on the app, fares may be impacted by distance, traffic, time of day, special events and prime time rates. To qualify for the Lyft Ride Smart discount, students must select “shared ride” in the app when booking their Lyft.

Safety remains Ohio State’s top priority and users are encouraged to keep their own safety in mind when using ridesharing by:

  • Following the vehicle on GPS via the app
  • Visually confirming vehicle info/descriptions matches information in the ridesharing app (license plate, model, etc.)
  • Matching 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
  • Asking the driver to say who they are picking up
  • If you feel unsafe, leaving the area and contacting law enforcement

Students can only leverage the discount program by requesting shared rides. To qualify for the discounted rate, all rides must start and end inside a designated geofenced service area, which includes the immediate campus and surrounding neighborhoods.

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