For many, an essential part of the college experience is the parties. However, finding a party to attend is only the easy part. Getting a ride home when none of your friends want to be the designated driver can be challenging at times.
Rideshare apps, such as Uber and Lyft, have made it possible for all to enjoy the fun while making it home safely. In previous years, the only services available were Campus Drive and Lyft.
Uber, however, is now available in the city of Big Rapids. Part of that change has to do with Uber’s data collection technique.
According to Uber international launcher Rob Khazzam, Uber can select the cities where they expand based on demand for the service.
“As a product, Uber is interesting because we don’t choose cities, cities choose us,” Khazzam said. “Our technology allows us to see and measure demand before we even arrive in a city. For example, in Bucharest, thousands of people had already downloaded the app, despite the service not yet being available.”
With two of the most popular rideshare apps now available in Big Rapids, students might have a difficult time deciding which app to use. The prices on the app tend to be relatively the same, only differing by a few cents.
Ferris elementary education sophomore Madalynn Bongard thinks rideshare apps like these are beneficial to the community.
“I think it’s a good idea because a lot of people like partying and not a lot of people have cars on campus. I think it’s also a good idea because then you wouldn’t have a lot of people driving around drunk and people would be able to get home safe,” Bongard said.
Rideshare apps aren’t solely used for the party scene, though. Students who don’t have a car on campus often rely on walking to buy groceries or to dine off-campus. With apps like Lyft or Uber, students can catch a ride and save time, rather than spend an hour on the walk to and from Walmart.
Ferris first-year optometry student Reham Karana believes it’s essential to have services like these to accommodate for those who might not have a car available on campus.
“A lot of students don’t have a car on campus, especially the ones that dorm or live far away, so it’d be convenient to have some sort of transportation handy,” Karana said.
As the app developed, Uber added an UberEATS section to its options, allowing for people to order fast food delivered to the comfort of their homes. Unfortunately, this option isn’t offered yet in the Big Rapids area.
Bongard believes by having services like UberEATS, students will encounter fewer dangers when trying to get a bite to eat.
“It would be pretty awesome. That way, people wouldn’t have to walk across the street to go to McDonald’s because that is pretty dangerous,” Bongard said. “One time, I was just driving down the road, and someone was looking at their phone, and they almost crossed the street and got hit.”
Hawyer believes through food delivery, students may concentrate more on their schoolwork and avoid distractions.
“When I’m hungry and I’m writing a paper, and I leave to go get food, I’m out of the mindset of the paper, so if you could get fast food while you were in your dorm, I feel like that would help a lot,” Hawyer said.
Uber and Lyft are both available for download on the Android and iOS app stores.