On Oct. 22, Student Union President Simran Tatuskar sent an email to the Brandeis student community announcing a potential partnership between the Student Union and the ridesharing application Lyft. For the two weeks around Halloween, from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5, students will be able to use a one-time use code to get up to $5 off of a ride to or from campus between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. This board commends Tatuskar for taking action to make this high-risk time of year safer for the Brandeis community. 

Making it easier and more affordable to access safe transportation to and from campus will keep students safe and reduce the danger of drunk driving accidents, as well as other situations in which it could be unsafe to walk or drive back to campus. This board appreciates the energy that Tatuskar is putting into objectives like this, which will directly contribute to student safety and well-being.  

The coupon code ensures that any Lyft ride under $10 will be a flat $5 rate, and all rides over $10 will be capped at $5 off the total cost. Riders must either be picked up or dropped off within the designated “coverage area,” which is a circle bordered by Route 117 north of campus, crossing I-95 in the west and encompassing the Charles River to the southeast. This ensures that all students living on campus are covered — including those housed in the Charles River Apartments — as well as a number of off campus residents.

This board urges students to redeem the code ahead of time, in order to make it easier to use and therefore more effective when it is actually needed. Students should also be aware that the discount can only be used one time per user, and only during these two weeks. Safety must be a priority at all times, and students should make sure they and others are being safe and responsible even when they do not have access to an opportunity like this to make it easier.

If this test program is as successful as expected, this board encourages Tatuskar and the Student Union to work towards continuing and potentially expanding this type of partnership with Lyft and similar applications. Making the discount available again at other times of the school year when it may be less safe for students to travel to or from campus would help encourage consistent standards of safe behavior on and around campus. 

Overall, this is a commendable action by Tatuskar and the Union that shows that they have the power to serve their constituents and make students’ experiences better, and this board hopes to see more work like it in the future. This is what Union members should be focusing on, especially in times of turmoil behind the scenes: they should be reminding students that their Union is still working for them.