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Northwestern University Safe Ride

NU Safe Ride Tips

  • Use Northwestern Safe Ride and avoid walking home alone in the dark.
  • NU Safe ride is only available to Northwestern students! Your ride will only be shared with other students.
  • Safe Ride is available from 7:00 pm to 3:00 am, seven days a week during the academic year when classes are in session.
  • Safe Ride provides service to Northwestern’s Evanston campus and the surrounding area, and must have either a pickup or drop-off at designated campus buildings.
  • The service zone includes Evanston from Central Street (north boundary) to Oakton Street/South Boulevard (south boundary) and Green Bay Road/Ashland Avenue (west boundary) to Lake Michigan.
  • Enter your unique single-use promo code provided by the University to access NU Safe Ride proposals in the Via app.
  • Be sure to select the NU Safe Ride proposal in order to receive the free NU Safe Ride product, other proposals (shared, private) will be paid products.
  • NU Safe Rides are powered by Via’s intelligent algorithm, which helps to reduce wait times with sharing technology!

NU Safe Ride Service Zone

Designated Campus Locations

Frequently Asked Questions

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Can anyone use Safe Ride?

Use of Safe Ride is limited to Northwestern faculty, staff and students – you have to have a Wildcard to get a ride. In order to receive a ride, eligible riders must apply their unique promo code provided by the university to the Via rider app. Because Safe Ride is intended to provide rides to/from campus at night rather than act as a taxi service, Safe Ride cannot accept ride requests from parties larger than four. Please consider other options such as walking as a group or Northwestern’s shuttle service.

How do I request a Safe Ride?

The fastest and easiest way to request a Safe Ride is through the Via Rider app. Download the app on your smartphone and create an account. Apply your unique promo code provided by the University to the Via app using these directions. Once you’re ready, enter your origin and destination by dragging the pin or entering a location using the search bar to begin requesting your ride. Be sure to adjust your passenger count to the number of riders in your party. Select the free NU Safe Ride proposal from the proposal list.

If you don’t have a smartphone, call (847) 260-7400 for booking help. We will respond as quickly as we can, but due to call volume, it may take a few minutes to receive a response. The dispatcher will ask you for your unique single-use promo code, origin location, destination, and the number of riders. The dispatcher will give you an estimated time of arrival and a pickup location.

Can I use my computer to call Safe Ride?

No, request a Safe Ride through the Via rider app for the smoothest experience, or call.

How long does it take to get a ride?

Safe Ride wait times can vary depending on multiple conditions. We recommend always checking the Via app to see the most accurate expected wait times.

What are the requirements to get a ride?

Safe Ride operations daily 7pm – 3am, when classes are in session.
Safe Ride provides service to Northwestern’s Evanston campus and the surrounding area, and must have either a pickup or drop-off at designated campus buildings.

The service zone includes Evanston from Central Street (north boundary) to Oakton Street/South Boulevard (south boundary) and Green Bay Road/Ashland Avenue (west boundary) to Lake Michigan. See a map of our coverage area.

Where do I go for my pick-up?

Safe Ride pickups or drop-offs will always be closeby (in front of the requested address, the nearest corner, or at a designated on-campus location). However, note that due to road access and safety concerns, some pickups may be a short distance away. Please check the Via rider app for your exact pickup location and walking instructions to this location. If you are unsure about where to wait, or if you can’t locate your driver, please don’t hesitate to text Via Live Support at (309) 753-7786.

I am not seeing a NU Safe Ride proposal in the Via app. Why?

Confirm that your request meets the geographic requirements; Safe Ride provides service to Northwestern’s Evanston campus and the surrounding area, and must have either a pickup or drop-off at designated campus buildings.

Confirm that Safe Ride is in service; Safe Ride is available from 7:00 pm to 3:00 am, seven days a week during the academic year when classes are in session.

If your request should meet these requirements, there may not be any available Safe Ride vehicles. Check out other transportation options.

My ride wasn’t free! Why?

Multiple proposals will be offered in the Via rider app (including Via shared and private proposals!). Be sure to select the NU Safe Ride proposal in order to receive your free Safe Ride. If you’re not seeing an NU Safe Ride proposal, please confirm that your ride meets the service requirements.

My ride doesn’t meet the requirements. What can I do?

If either your pickup or drop-off is supposed to be a campus building, check the address again. You should also check out the university shuttle routes if you haven’t yet – they are designed to stop in the most popular areas students travel to and from. You may have to use a combination of a Safe Ride and a shuttle to get where you’re going.

Remember, you can also select another paid proposal within the Via app. Our shared service currently starts at $4 for a solo ride within Evanston!

What happens if I can’t make my ride?

If you know you can’t make your ride, please let us know so that we can give another passenger a ride in your place. If you used the Via app to request your ride, you can cancel through the app, but if you called to request, please call back to let the dispatcher know.

How will I know when my car arrives?

Safe Ride does not call you when your car arrives. The Via app will send you a notification when your vehicle is two minutes away, and a text when the vehicle is at the pickup location. Please be outside or within visual range of the pickup location at the time of your estimate.

Safe Ride vehicles will be encouraged to display the Northwestern Safe Ride logo on them, and you should confirm the vehicle type and plate number in the Via app. If you don’t see your car and the app is indicating your vehicle is at the pickup, you can call the driver directly to coordinate. Due to high demand, as well as rides Safe Rides being shared with other NU students, we cannot keep other passengers waiting – your driver will only wait for two minutes before reporting you as a no-show.

What should I do if I can’t find my driver?

You can call your driver directly through the Via app to coordinate your pickup.

My phone died! Is my ride canceled?

Nope! You just won’t be able to receive notifications when your ride arrives, so you’ll have to be ready and waiting near your pickup. You may also want to text the Via Live Support to request an ETA for your vehicle.

I think I left something in the car. Is there a lost and found?

Yes! If you just lost the item, be sure to make a note of your car plate number and/or driver’s name. Contact Via Support using the Help Center in the Via app. If the driver found your item, Via Support will help coordinate its return.

What happens if I vomit in a Safe Ride car?

Via will charge $100.00 to cover the cost of cleaning the vehicle.

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