This year, students can no longer pay for Uber rides with their Commodore Cards.
In May, Uber informed its university partners that it would be discontinuing its campus card program effective June 30. In response, Card Services has begun offering Lyft credits available for purchase with Commodore Cash in the Card Office in Sarratt 184 in increments of $25, $50 and $75 to be used with a code as a form of in-app payment.
Uber’s website still listed Vanderbilt and a multitude of other universities as campus partners on their website until last week, prior to correspondence with Uber’s Head of Public Affairs Evangeline George. Now, the link to the full list of Uber’s university partners from their Campus Card FAQs page leads to an error page stating that the webpage couldn’t be found.
“We’re always looking for new ways to ensure students and faculty have access to safe, reliable transportation options” George said.
George did not address questions about why Uber ended their campus card program, what students can expect in the future or questions about the lack of publicity of the termination of the campus card program.
“We were disappointed with Uber’s decision to end the program after only two years but remain committed to providing Vanderbilt students with the ability to use their Commodore Cards to purchase rides” said Laura Nairon, Vanderbilt Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Services.
“We appreciate Lyft’s partnership in developing an interim solution and will continue to pursue a more integrated solution,” Nairon said.
The Commodore Card was added as an Uber payment option in 2017 through a Vanderbilt Student Government initiative. Vanderbilt senior Austin Konkle was involved in getting Uber on the card and is currently an executive board member of Experience Vanderbilt, a student-led initiative which work to provide students with funding to participate in extracurriculars.
“Especially right when students get here, they’re really amped about checking out all that Nashville has to offer – and that is a point where there is immediately a schism between students can afford to do that and students who can’t,” Konkle said.
“Right now there are events going on downtown that some students might not find accessible simply because they don’t know this [Lyft partnership] exists,” Konkle said. “So I think this is a good thing to plug as quickly as possible. I like this solution, it is helpful, but it’s definitely going to require more publicity.”
Konkle explained that the option to pay with Commodore Card is imperative to financial accessibility at Vanderbilt because it allows students to use pre-allocated funds from parents, guardians, scholarships or financial aid and doesn’t require students to dip into funds they may not have.
“I think this is a really good temporary solution” said Konkle. “I’m glad that this exists.”
Moving forward, administration promises to keep students updated of any developments.
“Students can expect Card Services to continue to champion on their behalf for the ability to use their Commodore Cash to pay for rideshare services” Nairon said.
In the meantime, students can stop by the Commodore Card Office in 184 Sarratt next to Local Java and use their Commodore Cash to purchase Lyft credits.