Safe Ride wait times shortened by 30% over the last year

Despite NYU’s Safe Ride service seeing an increase in ridership and a decrease in wait times, the university plans to develop a university-specific ride-share app.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

Safe Ride is available for free to students. NYU has partnered with Via to provide the service, and students must enter a discount code on the Via app to enable the feature. (Staff Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Sara Sharma, Contributing Writer

Safe Ride, NYU’s free late-night shuttle service operated in partnership with Via Transportation, has decreased wait times by an average of four minutes despite a 40% increase in ridership over the last year, according to university spokesperson Shonna Keogan. The university is also working with Via to create an NYU-specific ride-share app.

Via previously ran a publicly available Uber-style ride-share service, but ceased operations before the start of the spring 2022 semester after demand plummeted in the first year of the pandemic. The company still provides limited services to NYU students, but has chosen to refocus its business on transit technology.

“What has caused confusion is that last spring Via discontinued its service to the general public and now only works with partners such as NYU,” Keogan said. “When our students access the Via app for the first time and attempt to book a car without first entering the NYU Promo code, they see a message that says ‘Via no longer serves NYC.’”

Students say that in the past, they have been frustrated by a lack of car availability and malfunctions when requesting rides. Safe Ride is available from midnight to 7 a.m., and NYU students can request a pick-up between any two designated locations in Manhattan using the NYU Mobile or Via apps. In addition to on-campus buildings and residence halls, certain subway stations are also serviced.

Stern sophomore Zalak Patel, who lives in the Gramercy Green residence hall, recalled an instance in which she could not get a ride from her dorm. She had to walk to one of Safe Ride’s other locations about 15 minutes away at 2 a.m.

“Since I live in an upperclassmen dorm and often have late-evening classes or late studying sessions at the library, NYU Safe Rides give me a sense of safety,” Patel said. “Safe Ride’s app needs to function better.”

LS sophomore Anusha Chhabra said that the app did not work for her on several occasions during the summer term.

“During the summer, I’ve had to walk back alone from my friends’ dorms late at night frequently,” Chhabra said. “Summer at NYU is less populated, and there are fewer friends I could depend on to walk back with. I tried booking a campus safety ride, but my app wouldn’t work.”

Keogan said that NYU has only received one complaint about Safe Ride this semester, and encouraged students who experience issues with Safe Ride to let the university know through a feedback form available on the Safe Ride webpage.

Contact Sara Sharma at [email protected].