Need a Lyft?

New law allows rideshare companies to operate in Big Rapids

Photo by: Megell Strayhorn | Torch Photographer
The new Campus Drive app provides both jobs and rides for students at Ferris.

Whether you don’t have a car, or you want to get back safely from the bar, rideshare apps make affordable travel easier. 

Public transportation in Big Rapids is basically limited to Dial-A-Ride and while it can be a cost-effective way to travel around town, the many stops can make it a time-consuming experience. Although there are multiple taxi services inside the city, rideshare apps weren’t available until recently. Rideshare organizations provide a car service arranged by privately owned vehicles for a small fee, such as Uber or Lyft. 

“A lot of my friends use [taxis] to get to parties and to get back from parties,” Ferris pre-nursing freshman Hayley Beering said. “I also have a friend who just walks everywhere so I think that he’d benefit a lot from [more options].” 

Before March, rideshare services were not allowed in the city due to issues with licensing and the fact that Michigan had no formal regulations on the industry. With the passing of the Transportation Network Company Act on March 21, rideshare apps are now treated like taxi services, which allows them to operate in Big Rapids. 

Pre-nursing freshman Lindsey Burns believes that rideshare apps will cut down the prices of taxis and help students who don’t have a car at Ferris. 

“One of my friends doesn’t have a car and when she wants to go to Meijer to get something, she always has to get her suitemate to drive her so she would probably use [rideshare apps] to get around,” Burns said. 

Right now, at least two rideshare apps, Lyft and Campus Drive, are competing for the business of residents and students in Big Rapids, which may allow students an easier way to travel. 

Many people have heard of Lyft, which is the second largest rideshare app in America and only trails Uber in users. Campus Drive is the lesser-known option for students but could greatly benefit Ferris students looking for rides and students looking for jobs. 

The Campus Drive app is exclusively for students and uses only student drivers, which is something that many Ferris students find to be an aspect that sets Campus Drive above other rideshare apps. 

“If I had to choose between Uber, Lyft and Campus Drive, I’d probably choose Campus Drive because they’re more your age, they know what you’re doing and they get the experience,” Ferris pre-nursing freshman Alexis Hartzell said. “It would be more comfortable and knowing that you’re going to get a student would help a lot.” 

Other than requiring that drivers are students, Campus Drive also requires drivers are at least 21 years old and drive a vehicle that is a 2007 model year or newer. 

In comparison, Lyft also requires drivers are at least 21 years old, but only requires a 2005 model year or newer vehicle that has four doors and seats at least five people. 

Lyft is available for both Android and iOS, Campus Drive claims to also be available on both platforms but as of November 24, could only be found for iOS. A Campus Drive representative was unable to be reached for comment about the issue.