The Daily Iowan

Nite Ride improves service with new advancements

The UI Department of Public Safety Nite Ride has recently added new features to further improve its service.

Josie Fischels, News Reporter

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In response to feedback from University of Iowa students and parents familiar with the service, Nite Ride has rolled out several new features in the past few months to relieve any concerns.

Earlier this year, the UI Department of Public Safety released a new and improved Nite Ride that included a new ride request app custom-built by ITS, said Public Safety Security Supervisor Beau Hartsock.

The ride-request app is accessed by webpage, he said. Upon visiting the link, users are directed to enter their HawkID, cellphone number, pickup location, and drop-off location before choosing a vehicle. After requesting a ride, users are able to view information about which vehicle to look for before it arrives.

Hartsock said users also receive a text message when their ride is approaching and an email receipt that includes information about their request and any related charges.

Nite Ride frequent user Jessica Yoder began using the service regularly as a sophomore at the UI to avoid waiting in the dark and cold after her night classes let out in the winter.

RELATED: Nite Ride releases new app to help reduce waiting times

She expressed concern with the less recent ride request application’s design, because it only issued estimated arrival times for Nite Ride vehicles and only allowed users to ask the service to arrive at a street corner rather than a specific address.

“Often, I didn’t know the nearest intersection and would have to ask around or look it up,” she said.

In response to this sort of feedback, Nite Ride now includes an “express” feature on its interface, in which users have the option to pay $1 for a ride that takes them directly from their pickup point to their destination without stopping for other passengers, Hartsock said. As of Sept. 29, the service also added a “vehicle is approaching map” feature to the app.

“Safety is our top priority, and the ultimate goal of this update is to improve waiting times while giving those on campus an opportunity to interact with our department in a positive way,” Hartsock said.

In response to other user feedback, Nite Ride increased the number of vehicles in its fleet from two to four.

Hayley Bruce, the Public Safety strategic communication manager, said in an email to The Daily Iowan that the department replaced the Nite Ride Gold bus with a new TransConnect Van on Oct. 15.

“[This replacement was] due to the need to replace the Nite Ride Gold bus with a more updated vehicle, which is something we do regularly as the Nite Ride vehicles age,” she said in the email.

Bruce said a second TransConnect Van is on the way, as well as a large handicap-accessible passenger bus similar to Nite Ride Gold. She said Public Safety is also moving toward having more, smaller vehicles as more students begin to request express rides.

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