Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, October 20, 2018

Your Uber is arriving. But where?

AU’s campus may be familiar to students but should be made convenient and friendly for Uber and taxi drivers

Your Uber is arriving. But where?

It’s happened to all of us. While waiting for your Uber when heading to the airport, Union Station, a night out on the town or just about any reason, the Uber driver is trying to find your hailing location on campus, but gets lost. The driver tries to find your location but the  time lost in finding it causes you to miss your plane, train, bus or other plans.

As convenient as using Uber can be, the fact that some drivers have trouble finding the pickup location on campus can be frustrating. When it comes to navigating AU’s campus, unlike large state schools in college towns, the roads at AU do not have names and lack signage that would make it easier for drivers to get to various campus buildings.

However, a solution that Uber and the University can adopt is available and is heavily used by some locations that Uber frequents: hailing zones. Already, at places such as Miami International Airport, Uber has a special zone at the arrivals area of the airport for passengers to hail an Uber and get picked up at.

The notion of hailing zones is not a foreign idea in D.C. Already at Union Station or at Ronald Reagan airport, cab stands are made available where taxi cabs can line up and airport personnel assist passengers in getting a cab. Though the purpose of such stands are aimed to mitigate the illegal solicitation of rides, the idea of having designated areas for pickup should be implemented at AU. 

Hailing zones could be located on the south side of campus, near the Hughes, McDowell and Cassell Hall on the north side, and at Nebraska Hall. An Uber customer could hail a ride from one of these three zones, indicating on the app at which hailing zone they are. This system would reduce customer wait time and improve customer satisfaction with using Uber to get from AU to any destination in the DMV. 

AU already has convenient transportation. The shuttle provides service to the local Metro stop, UPass gives students free rides on the Metro system, Zip Car offers discounted memberships, but the there is lack of convenience when it comes to Uber. If AU truly wants to be a university that has affordable and convenient transportation options, the implementation of Uber hailing zones is the final part of the equation for AU to promote itself as an accessible university when it comes to transportation. 

Sameer Chintamani is a senior in the School of International Service and is a columnist for The Eagle. 


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