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Uber Safe Ride Program

Nathan Pigott

As the wake of budget cuts ripples through the university, Student Government Senate has proposed a bill allocating $20,000 for an Uber Safe Ride Program.

If approved, the program purchases 1,000 codes, each containing a $20 credit. Students would receive their code by submitting a form on Eagle Link, ensuring no student receives more than one. The codes will be first come, first serve.

Though the proposed plan doesn’t limit when the credit can be used, it does limit where. The program would cover the area south of Daniels Parkway down to Corkscrew Rd. and the area east of U.S. 41 across to the Southwest Florida Airport.

The area encompasses Target, Walmart, Publix, Costco, Gulf Coast Town Center, Miromar Outlets, Southwest Florida International Airport, San Carlos Park, Coastal Village, The Reef and the soon-to- be-completed University Village.

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According to Student Government, the plan emulates the University of Florida’s Uber Safe Ride program, which was implemented in April 2017. UF’s Safe Ride started as 90-day pilot program in December 2014. In 2015, an initial version took effect, but was shut down during that year’s Fall semester for not complying with the American Disabilities Act.

As compared to FGCU, which plans to offer a set amount of credit to a set amount of students, UF offers 50 percent off all registered students’ Uber rides within the parameters set by the university. The discount is available from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, for all students with a ufl .edu email address. According to the senate resolution, the program costs UF $46,000, which is .22 percent of their student government’s $20,286,152 budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. FGCU’s Student Government’s budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year was $3,660,890. The allocated budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year was not available on FGCU’s Student Government’s website.

UF’s website lists its student body size as 52,286 students, meaning the university is spending less than $1 per student on its Uber Safe Ride Program, whereas FGCU has proposed spending $20 per student for only 1,000 students.

Thomas Zeringue, a senior majoring in psychology, says he thinks that $20,000 could be spent on something more beneficial for all students.

“That’s a lot of money. They should offer another scholarship or more financial aid to kids who need it,” Zeringue said.

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