Comparing FAU’s Uber program to other state universities’ initiatives

The partnership comes with a student discount that can be used at any time of day to any location, unlike the programs of other Florida public universities.


FAU’s Uber program set aside $40,000 to fund the student discounts, and will end when the money runs out. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Sophie Siegel, Staff Writer

FAU has partnered with Uber to give students $5 off rides, and it’s one of several state universities to adopt a partnership with the ride-sharing company.

Out of Florida’s 12 public schools, five offer their students discounted Uber rides, but the initiatives of the other four are slightly different.

The FAU program offers discounts to its entire student body regardless of ride length, location, or time of day, which sets it apart from other state universities. Student Government and Student Affairs allocated $40,000 for the discounts, which means the program will end once that money runs out. However, if new money is allocated, the program could be reinstated.

From Florida Gulf Coast and the University of Florida to the University of Central Florida and Florida International, here’s how each program compares to FAU’s.

Similar idea, different executions

Gift Cards

FGCU originally planned to offer the same sort of discount as FAU in October 2017. Its Student Government allocated $20,000 for the initiative.

“The original motive for the program was to discourage drunk driving,” said Bryan Infante, an FGCU Student Government assistant director. “We wanted to make the Uber cheaper for them so that they are not discouraged … It was to keep students safe, and the streets of our community safe.”

But according to the school’s former SG Assistant Director of Internal Affairs Alexandra Sao, it didn’t end up being a discount program.

“They weren’t able to get Uber to give them a permanent discount code,” she said.

Instead, her school’s SG bought 1,000 gift cards worth $20 each and students had to sign up to obtain them. Because the school has almost 15,000 students, that means less than 7 percent of the population benefited from the program.

Campus Card Program

Instead of cheaper rides, FIU’s Uber partnership lets its students have “Campus Cards.”

“Pay for rides with the money that’s already loaded onto your campus card. Now you’ll never miss out when those last-minute plans pop up,” Uber’s website said about the program.

The card makes it so that students don’t have to use a credit card or cash to pay for their rides. All they have to do is download the Uber app, select their school, connect their card, and choose their destination.

The program is available to FIU’s 55,000 students, but doesn’t involve any discounts.

FIU formerly offered a 50 percent off promo code for commuters going to and from its main Miami-Dade campus. But when a campus bridge collapsed in March earlier this year, the program was suspended due to road closures and traffic.

The UP reached out to FIU SG for comment as to whether or not the program will be brought back, but did not receive a response as of publication time.

Safe Rides

UCF is part of the Uber Safe Ride Program. And while the initiative lets its entire student population of 66,000 receive discounted rides, it’s only on Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Student trips are 50 percent off up to $10, while trips over $10 are $5 off — but all discounts can only be applied to student rides on UCF’s campus.

The University of Florida also partnered with the Uber Safe Ride Program. Its SG allocated $46,000 to give students discounted rides. Similar to UCF, it can only be used Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on certain parts of UF’s campus. Students receive 50 percent off any Uber ride with a promo code from the UF student portal.

“Uber Safe Rides has personally made my life safer and better. And I know it has changed the perception and actuality of security and safety for the student body,” UF student body Vice President David Enriquez said.

Sophie Siegel is a staff writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].