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A college student uses on-demand transit to get to class — and the game.

Learn how Northwestern University student Alexia uses the on-demand Safe Rides service to get around campus safely and affordably.

Via Transportation •

When college tour guides show off their school to prospective students, they typically hit all the campus highlights: the library, the student center, the football stadium. When Alexia, a current sophomore at Northwestern University, took her campus tour, her guide focused on something unexpected: transportation. “Safe Rides was something I heard about long before I got to Northwestern,” Alexia explains, referring to the late-night, on-demand transit service that knits together a campus stretching two miles down the Evanston lakefront. “I did a campus tour when I was in 11th grade,” she says, and remembers her guide describing Saferides as a “perk.” 

Now in her second year, Alexia finds that Northwestern Safe Rides has opened up academic, extracurricular, and social opportunities she would have otherwise struggled to access safely and affordably. Though she is plenty busy with classes — a journalism major, her class projects consist of fully-produced live news broadcasts and editing clips for social media — she makes the most of her time off in the evenings, whether at lacrosse practice, dinner with friends, a party, or a sporting event. 

But without a reliable way to get home at night, she would likely get out less, she says. Take athletic events, for example: “Our football and basketball arena are pretty far from everything else on campus… This year, it’s a 45-minute walk to get back.” Safe Rides offers an easy, quick way home with just a couple of swipes of an app. “Using Safe Rides is common among women on campus,” she observes. “A lot of us don’t feel comfortable walking alone at night, or even in a small group it can feel a little unsafe.”

Ridehail services and taxis are an option — but an expensive one. With Safe Rides free to students, she doesn’t have to worry about these tradeoffs: “It’s weird to think that if I had to pay for my rides using Uber it would cost me close to $10 for every ride, so easily even taking two Safe Rides in a week saves me at least $20 per week.” And those savings add up over the years, making Alexia all the more grateful for her 11th-grade tourguide.