The University of Georgia is partnering with Lyft to provide a nightly rideshare program for students with service beginning in the coming weeks. This new program, UGA Ride Smart, represents the latest component of a recently announced $8.5 million investment over the next three years to enhance campus safety. This initiative and others will continue to be evaluated in the coming year to maximize their impact.
Lyft’s service was selected by a team of planners that included leaders of the student body, Student Affairs, Community Relations, UGA Police Department and transportation officials. Up to $1 million annually—$3 million over three years—will go toward an overlapping system in which UGA Ride Smart combines with evolving night bus schedules, the student-run Designated Dawgs ride service, and other efforts to offer the most coverage reasonably possible.
“The Student Government Association appreciates the support of campus partners that has led to swift action towards making this initiative a reality,” said SGA President Carter Marks. “This project is a great example of our strong relationship with university administrators and our commitment to advocating for the needs of our students.”
“After countless hours of research and outreach to other Division 1 universities, SGA has tailored this program to best serve the student body in Athens,” SGA Chief of Staff Joseph Benken said. “We are proud to offer a rideshare program that sets the standard high for safe late-night transportation.”
UGA Ride Smart will run seven days a week from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., offering currently enrolled students discounted rides to or from any destination throughout the greater Athens-Clarke County community as long as the transportation originates or ends within the Athens campus, which includes one block north of the Arch in downtown Athens. This approach allows all students, regardless of where they live on or off campus, to take fuller advantage of a rideshare program.
Participants will be able to purchase rides in a Lyft vehicle to use any night of the week, and half of the cost—up to $5 per ride—will be paid by UGA. Because ACC is the smallest county in the state, few rides within the county are expected to exceed $10. Each student will be allotted four rides per month, resulting in as many as 48 rides per year for those enrolled in fall, spring and summer semesters.
Students are encouraged to utilize capacity limitations for “Standard Lyft” rides (up to 3 riders) and “Lyft XL” rides (up to 5 riders) to travel in groups with other UGA students, which also helps maximize the number of times students can take advantage of this program.
“One of the greatest joys of my role as vice president is the ability to speak at each new student orientation session,” said Victor Wilson, UGA’s Vice President for Student Affairs. “During my time spent with parents at orientation, student safety is a major part of our discussion. I always have and will continue to stress the importance of the collaborative relationship we have—both on campus and at home—to keep our students safe. Therefore, I am excited to see this additional program to enhance our ongoing safety efforts.”
More information about how to register for UGA Ride Smart will soon be provided. Currently enrolled students will receive an invitation through their UGA email from Lyft to join UGA Ride Smart. Students can follow the steps outlined in the invitation email to sign up for the program.
The University of Georgia is dedicated to providing safe transportation options for students at all hours of the day. The availability of UGA Ride Smart will not impact current night bus service, and students are still encouraged to utilize UGA buses during late night hours.