Campus Life

Penn State partners with Lyft to provide discounted late-night rides

The off-campus pickup service area for the Penn State Ride Smart by Lyft program is between College Avenue, University Drive, Bellaire Avenue, Hamilton Avenue and Buckhout Street. Credit: Sara Brennen / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Transportation Services has partnered with Lyft to launch a new late-night safe ride program for Penn State students.

The Penn State Ride Smart by Lyft program will provide eight $10-per-ride credits each month to all Penn State University Park students for Lyft rides back to campus from downtown State College on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. For ride credits to apply, rides must begin and end within the following program service areas:

  • Pickup service area: off campus between College Avenue, University Drive, Bellaire Avenue, Hamilton Avenue and Buckhout Street.
  • Drop-off service area: on campus between Park Avenue, University Drive, College Avenue and White Course Apartments.

An interactive map of the Penn State Ride Smart by Lyft service area is available here.

The purpose of the program is to provide a safe transportation option during late-night hours for students to get back to campus if for any reason they find themselves in a potentially threatening or unsafe situation. It will serve as an off-campus companion to the Safe Walk service operated by University Police and Public Safety, which provides walking accompaniment on campus for students, employees and visitors who may feel unsafe walking alone on campus at night.

“Through our ongoing engagement with Penn State students, we identified a need for a safe ride option for students to get back to campus during late-night hours when there’s not sufficient demand for fixed-route transit service,” said Cecily Zhu, sustainable transportation program manager for Penn State Transportation Services. “While we urge students to follow University recommendations for staying safe, the Ride Smart by Lyft program will hopefully provide some additional peace of mind to students and their families that safe transportation options are available to students when needed.”

The Penn State Ride Smart by Lyft program will operate as a pilot program through the end of May, after which it will be evaluated for continued funding.

Program sign-up

Lyft will send an invitation email to all University Park students’ Penn State email accounts on Sept. 30 with Ride Smart program enrollment instructions. Before following the sign-up instructions, students must download the Lyft app and sign up for an account with their Penn State email address or link their Penn State email address to their existing account. Students unable to find their Lyft invitation email should check their spam or junk folder, then contact Transportation Services for assistance if still unable to find it.

After signing up for the Ride Smart program through the invitation email, the Lyft account will be updated with the eight ride credits for that month, which will then be automatically applied to eligible rides. If the cost of an eligible ride exceeds the $10 credit, students must pay the difference with the credit card on file with their Lyft account. Lyft ride rates vary and may be impacted by distance, traffic, time of day, special events and prime-time surcharges. On the first day of each month through May, any unused credits from the previous month will expire, but a new series of eight credits will be added to the account.

Lyft health and safety information

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lyft has launched a Health Safety Program, which includes:

  • Personal health certification for drivers and riders.
  • Required face masks for drivers and riders.
  • Health safety education for drivers and riders.
  • Distribution of cleaning supplies and masks for drivers.

To help promote a safe riding experience, Lyft recommends riders take the following safety precautions:

  • Verify your ride by making sure the license plate number, drive information, and vehicle make and model match what you see in the Lyft app.
  • Share your location and route with a friend or loved one from within the Lyft app so they can follow your ride in real time.
  • Follow the Lyft vehicle on GPS via the app.
  • Ask the driver to say who they are picking up.

Visit Lyft’s Rider Safety page to learn more about riding smart with Lyft.

Last Updated September 30, 2021