When passing by the Huxley Avenue gate at Providence College, there is a high chance of seeing at least one student being picked up or dropped off by an Uber or Lyft driver. Ride sharing services are frequently utilized by PC students to reach their off-campus destinations.
However, as it stands, PC does not allow ridesharing drivers to pass through the Huxley Avenue gate, forcing students to be picked up and dropped off by these drivers on the perimeter of campus. Although this may seem trivial, allowing rideshare drivers to have access to the rest of campus would make the lives of students considerably more convenient.
The arguments for permitting rideshare drivers to enter campus extend much further than simply wanting to minimize the amount of walking involved out of sheer laziness. Many students who live on campus use ridesharing services to go grocery shopping. Thus, as a result of PC’s policy, students must lug their bags full of groceries from the gate back to their rooms when they return from their trip. This is a difficult thing to do, and students would not have to struggle across campus with their bags if drivers could drop them off outside of their dorms.
Additionally, walking to and from the Huxley Avenue gate can be unpleasant when the weather is poor. New England winters can be very harsh, and it is not fun to trek to and from your Uber or Lyft in freezing temperatures or while it is snowing.
This policy also negatively affects students who have injuries that cause them to have trouble walking, such as Delaney Mayette ’20. She said, “Last spring I took an Uber back from the hospital after I fractured one of the metatarsals in my foot. My Uber driver wasn’t allowed past the gate, so I had to crutch all the way back to Aquinas.”
PC restricts ridesharing drivers from entering campus as a preventative measure. Koren Kanadanian, director of public safety, said, “Once a vehicle is let on campus and we lose sight of them, they could park some place on campus and wander around. This brings up safety concerns. We want to make sure they are not wandering campus or dorms looking for students.”
Although the College’s safety concerns are valid, both Uber and Lyft conduct background checks on all potential drivers. Along with screening their driving records, these companies conduct criminal background checks on applicants to prevent those who have been convicted of various offenses, such as crimes that are violent or sexual in nature, from being hired.
Additionally, the Huxley Avenue gate is often left open when there are sporting events on campus, allowing anyone to come onto campus presumably to watch a game. If PC is comfortable letting unknown people pass through the gate at times like these, the College should be willing to allow ridesharing drivers to enter campus, especially considering they have passed a background check.
Ridesharing services are incredibly popular among PC’s student population. Although walking to and from the Huxley Avenue gate is not an impossible feat, there are many circumstances in which students would greatly benefit from being able to get picked up and dropped off by an Uber or Lyft driver right outside of their dorm building.