Student Body President Bradley Opere said the talks between Uber and UNC are at a standstill because a decision can’t be reached over accessibility and liability issues.
“The issue just comes in with regards to, would UNC want to cover the liability, or would Uber want to cover the liability,” Opere said.
Opere said the free Uber idea originally sprang from a desire to cut down on drunken driving and sexual assault.
He said Uber would be easily adoptable because of its popularity among students.
“I know a lot of students would definitely appreciate having the ride service,” Opere said.
Opere said he spoke with other student body presidents during a White House visit about similar student ride initiatives at their universities.
N.C. State University has a similar student ride-sharing program called College Beeper, Opere said. But it is not sanctioned by the university, so it skirts the liability issue.
“UNC is a public university, and so for us to adopt something of that nature, it would have to go through different levels of approval,” Opere said.
Opere said the free Uber rides became a possibility because of an anonymous donation to the UNC Panhellenic Council.
UNC Panhellenic Council President Erica Batres said the council decided to focus its efforts on other things.
The UNC Panhellenic Council has not said how the money from the anonymous donation funding the initiative will now be allocated.
Sophomore Meredith McNairy said when she first heard about the free Uber initiative she thought it was too good to be true.
“I thought it was such a good idea because when I was in high school and stuff, I was always super scared about getting to college and having to deal with drinking and driving, drunk drivers and my friends possibly driving drunk,” McNairy said. “And Uber just like completely reduces that possibility.”
Senior Chakiera Shields said she thought the free Uber initiative would be great for students who were coming home past the hours when the P2P runs, or who were away from Franklin and Rosemary streets.
“We hardly get anything free here,” Shields said. “Tuition is expensive. I’m out of state, so anything I can get free, I really appreciate it.”
Opere said student government’s lines of communication are still open, so if Uber and the University get past the liability issue, the initiative is still on the table.
“I would say from my end, it’s one of those things we have on our wish list, but it doesn’t necessarily depend on what happens on our end,” Opere said. “It also depends on what happens on Uber’s end.”