USGD follows Poly in partnership with Lyft for discounted rides

The partnership will provide discounted rides to ASU students

Undergraduate Student Government Downtown is piloting a partnership with the ride sharing app Lyft, following a similar partnership with USG Polytechnic that began in August.

The USGD program is still in its early stages, with members still collecting data on which routes to discount, and how the discounts will be provided. The program has been in the making for years, according to the president of USGD, public policy senior Aly Perkins.

“I am a member of the Council of Presidents which is the student body presidents on all four campuses and the graduate president,” Perkins said. “In years past, they were the ones that advocated for this partnership and laid the groundwork, so now that it's official, we can actually start building the programs.”

USGP President and professional flight junior Dan Pasco said the USGP partnership with Lyft had three options and is based off previous Lyft partnerships with ASU. 

“The first one is a local ride program,” Pasco said. “It’s a code that we come out with every month for a $20 credit for rides within a five-mile radius of campus.”

Another program at Poly is a discounted ride code to Phoenix Sky Harbor International, which is about 30 miles, and would cost between $30 and $40 without the discount.

“Those were our first pilot programs in August, and we got a lot of positive feedback about it since,” Pasco said. “The only other thing that students wanted (are) rides to Tempe, or just rides anywhere.”

The Lyft partnership is flexible and able to accommodate changing needs and requests, Pasco said.

“So we also come out with a $15 credit that just came out last week that’s good for the rest of the semester for an extended radius of 25 miles, so it’ll let students pretty much get anywhere in the valley.” 

Perkins said the programs help students with the cost of transportation. 

“I think it’s going to benefit students because it is going to make a service that is widely used easier to afford,” Perkins said. “That’s always great as a college student — especially students that are putting themselves through college —  it's difficult.”

The USG collaborations are in addition to two other partnerships between Lyft and ASU, which a University spokesperson said could set a standard for other universities across the nation.  

“ASU’s relationship with Lyft grew out of discussions of all our transportation needs at the University,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We hope to continue to improve transportation on all our campuses and set a standard for other universities around the country and world to follow.”

The other programs include a replacement for the Mayo shuttle bus that provides free rides to the Mayo Clinic, and a discount for customers on ASU game day, with improved pickup and drop off locations. 

If the USGD and Polytechnic partnerships are successful, they could expand to the Tempe campus, said President of USG Tempe Allison Sorgeloos.

“The Tempe campus does not currently have an active Lyft partnership, and no student fee dollars are being allocated to the program,” Sorgeloos said in an emailed statement. “We are piloting the program in various capacities at the other campuses this year to determine the best course of action and price for the Tempe campus.”

The routes and programs will be tailored to each campus, Perkins said. 

USGD has a budget item of $12,500 for Fiscal Year 2019, which Perkins said she is in the process of allocating. USGP budgeted $25,000 for the same year for its Lyft program, Pasco said.

While the routes for Downtown are still not decided, Perkins said that one of the common needs downtown is shopping.

“I haven’t taken a look at the data specifically, but I figure it’s probably going to be getting to grocery stores that aren’t Safeway since we already have a grocery shuttle system that takes people to Safeway,” Perkins said. 

Read more: Future of Downtown's Sun Devil Express unsure

Lyft could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. 



Reach the reporter at isaac.windes@asu.edu or follow @isaacdwindes on Twitter.

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