Special Reports

College Partners with Uber Give Students Means of Transportation to School


Having run out of options for student transportation, a College in Danvers, Massachusetts, has found a way to help students go to school without the need to walk very long distance: the ride-hailing service Uber.

Students from North Shore Community College, which is located about 20 miles away from Boston, have been struggling to get to school due to the lack of a convenient transportation system, reports NPR. The nearest bus stop was located somewhere far - at a mall about four miles away from campus.

NSCC president Patricia Gentile discovered this problem when at one time she looked out her office window and noticed something strange. "All of these cars rolling up, and tons of folks getting in and out," she said.

After asking her assistant about the matter, Gentile found out that there was no public transportation accommodating the needs of their students and campus personnel. Buses, however, made stops at the said mall far away from the school.

"You can get to the mall to go shopping, but you can't go to college?" Gentile told the Boston Globe of the matter.

Gentile then asked the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, requesting that a bus route be made for the school. The MBTA, in response, asked for a requirement that Gentile didn't have: a proof of ridership. It turns out that there used to be a bus route to the college, but due to low ridership, however, the MBTA chose to shut it down in 2002, an agency spokesperson said.

Out of options, Gentile then tried to talk to ride-hailing service Uber after it was suggested to her.

"We did some studies and, at one point, somebody recommended that we talk to Uber to see what could be done," Gentile said.

Uber and NSCC then struck a deal and created a pilot program. Under the NSCC-Uber Ride program, students can choose to ride from three different locations to the school, at a discounted rate. NSCC pays for the first $10, and the riding student pays the remaining amount, usually about $3 going in or out.

To meet the need, NSCC set aside a budget of $40,000 for the service. For Gentile, this is a "pretty good bargain," but for NSCC students like 22-year-old Nursing student Dania Matos, it's a "lifesaver."

"I think if it didn't exist, I would have been in over my head at this point," she said.

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