Recent issues with USC’s free Lyft program have led to confusion as students are being charged for rides during the complimentary hours.
The USC Lyft ride program announced at the start of the semester that it would return to the rideshare method used before the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes were then suspended due to the Omicron variant. USC also reduced the program’s hours to 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. for the first two weeks of remote classes.
The program was scheduled to return to its regular 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. hours when classes shifted to in person, but some riders are still experiencing time restrictions. Nina Harders, a junior studying psychology, was unable to order a free Lyft at 12:10 a.m. on Monday. Despite her own worries about walking home at night, Harders chose to do so anyway due to financial concerns.
“It is not safe for me to walk home alone or even with friends, as there is a lot of crime that happens to young women at night,” Harders said. “But, I am definitely more likely to walk home if free Lyft is not available because paying for rides adds up quickly and I am a full time student without an income, so I would rather walk than pay for a Lyft.”
Students use the “Fryft” program not only for financial convenience but also for safety, especially during late night hours.
“The incident reports that we get daily just kind of reminded me that it’s very helpful to have it just to make sure I’m safe,” Grace Szafara, a junior studying music industry, said. “It really makes a difference for everyone.”
Szafara is one of the many students whose Lyft Pass did not update this semester.
“I called one (Lyft) after 12 and I thought it was free,” she said. “But then I checked back this morning and it charged me.”
The current dilemma with rides is not the first time students have been mistakenly charged within “Fryft” hours. This past October, students were charged for rides due to a programming issue. Students later received reimbursement for these rides.
If you are experiencing issues with free Lyft and are looking for reimbursement, contact Michelle Garcia, the senior associate director of USC Auxiliary Services, at email@example.com.