A free ride-sharing service for students at Northeastern’s Boston campus is becoming more user-friendly.
Students who live off-campus can catch a free ride home at night by using the improved RedEye Safety Escort, which is managed by the Northeastern University Police Department. Pickups are available every half-hour at Snell Library daily from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m.
The service is available to students who live within a two-mile radius of the campus center.
Via, which offers ride-sharing services in 80 cities across 20 countries, has developed similar ride-sharing systems in conjunction with transportation authorities in Los Angeles, London, Sydney, and Berlin. Its algorithm enables multiple passengers who are headed in the same direction to be booked into a shared vehicle, says Northeastern Police Staff Sgt. John Farrell.
“We optimize the routing so that we’re able to deliver them very quickly,” says Dillon Twombly, chief revenue officer at Via. “At the same time, we’re reducing congestion, reducing emissions, and facilitating an efficient service for the students to get home.”
More than 3,300 students used the service for 45,000 rides in the 2018-19 academic year. Farrell expects those numbers to rise with the improved service this year.
His optimism is shared by Safiya Ibrahim, a junior in computer engineering technology who has used the service for the past year for commutes to her apartment in Cambridge. With the previous technology, she says, students would sometimes bypass the app and ask the driver to take them home—which led to inefficient routing.
She says she is looking forward to the improved service.
“It’s much cheaper than taking the train or the bus, and much safer,” Ibrahim says.
An additional service is available to pedestrians on the Boston campus. Students, faculty, and staff may request personal safety escorts at any time of day between campus and home, work, or other destinations, by phoning Northeastern police at 617.373.2121. You’ll need to provide your name, Northeastern ID number, and location. Uniformed safety escorts usually arrive in 10 to 15 minutes.