ASUC announces discount Lyft rides for students with temporary mobile partnership

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The ASUC announced Wednesday a temporary partnership between its Berkeley Mobile smartphone app and the ride-sharing service Lyft, which will give students access to discounted rides.

The partnership will provide a 30 percent discount for six rides redeemable through the ASUC’s smartphone application, Berkeley Mobile, which now features a button to direct users to the Lyft application. Users will receive a discount if their rides start or end in the area of zip codes 94704, 94709 and 94720.

In an effort to improve student access to safe and affordable transportation, the ASUC Office of the Chief Technology Officer contacted Lyft for a potential partnership in January, according to Mihir Patel, the chief technology officer.

The discount is also accessible without downloading the Berkeley Mobile app to non-students who enter a discount code in the payment section of the Lyft smartphone app.

“Lyft and Cal are both committed to providing students with safe, affordable transportation option,” said Lyft spokesperson Mary Caroline Pruitt in an email. “Which is why we’ve partnered together to offer discounted Lyft rides for the rest of the school year.”

Neither the Berkeley Mobile application nor its partnership with Lyft have an official affiliation with campus administration, according to UC Berkeley real estate division spokesperson Christine Shaff.

The campus currently offers night transportation services such as the Bear Transit safety shuttle, BearWALK and door-to-door service.

Cristina Ghirardo, a campus first year, said she thought students should have more options for nighttime transportation.

“Bear Transit is good but not that good,” Ghirardo said. “It only goes to specific locations and it doesn’t hit places like Sproul or MLK Jr. (Student Union) where people are studying until late at night.”

Representatives from the ASUC have discussed the possibility of a long-term partnership that would involve administration, according to Patil.

He added that the current partnership is a test-run and that his office’s goal is to form a long-term partnership with Lyft to renew the discount in future semesters.

Uber, another ride-sharing service frequently used by students, maintains a partnership with the University of Southern California. As part of the university-funded Campus Cruiser program, students have access to free Uber rides at night and during football game days, according to the program’s website.

Patil expressed doubt over the possibility that a similar partnership with a ride-sharing service could work at UC Berkeley, citing the potential difficulty of acquiring campus funding for the program.

“(UC) Berkeley is not good at talking about money,” Patil said. “The administration or someone would have to reimburse those usages.”

Contact Sofia Gonzalez-Platas at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sgonzalezplatas.