SA’s Uber pilot program gave 1,000 students discounted rides

Emmy Gnat | Staff Illustrator

The Student Association launched a pilot partnership with Uber last Friday.

Syracuse University students used $10,000 in Uber coupon codes sponsored by the Student Association within seven hours of the codes’ release last Friday.

SA partnered with the ride-hailing company in a pilot program to give $10 coupon codes to 1,000 students.

Angie Pati, SA’s vice president, said the code was activated at 5 p.m. last Friday and students claimed all available coupon codes by midnight.

Students could put the code into their Uber app and use the credit later, she added.

SA President James Franco said he spoke to an Uber representative Thursday afternoon about last weekend’s partnership. He said Uber could not release specific data to SA unless they were in a formal partnership.

Uber presented Franco with a first draft of terms and conditions to form a partnership, but it is unclear how SA will proceed, Franco said. The SA president said he needs to talk with the rest of his cabinet and administration before moving forward with a partnership.

SU Athletics recently formed a partnership with Lyft, another ride-hailing company, which could potentially complicate further contracts with Uber, Franco said.

SA wants to plan future Uber weekends later in the semester, he added.

“We’re trying as hard as we can to partner and collaborate with Uber as much as possible,” Franco said.

To pay for last week’s partnership, SA pulled $5,000 from its student advancement fund and $5,000 from its transportation fund. Each fund includes about $70,000, Franco said.

“A lot of times we want students to not stay in the bubble of Syracuse, but go past the boundaries of what’s on the Hill,” Pati said. “So that was really nice that students were able to utilize (Uber) to go to things like the state fair or to do service projects in the community of Syracuse or downtown.”

Franco said he thought the initiative was successful.

Franco and Pati have said they want to make safety a priority during their term as SA president and vice president.

“We really just wanted students to utilize (Uber) to get home safely because … we really care about the safety of Syracuse students,” Pati said. “If they have a great reliable service like Uber to take them right to their doorstep, that’s really awesome.”

Another potential project is the creation of a shuttle system between Main Campus and eastern off-campus housing, Franco said. The shuttle would run during hours when students have to travel between Main Campus and the Euclid area.

Alexandra Dimitri, SA public relations chair, worked to distribute Uber coupon codes during the project’s end stages. She said she thought the pilot was a success.

“Moving forward, we’re definitely looking forward to partner with Uber again,” Dimitri said.


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